This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 7th April 2013
To be honest I’m a bit bored with zombie movies and I’m not a follower of The Walking Dead, so I heaved a sigh and sat with arms mentally folded as Warm Bodies‘ witty introduction then swiftly proceeded to upheave all my prejudices. For praise be – someone has freshened up the clichés.
That someone is novelist Isaac Marion, whose brilliantly clever tale has been adapted and directed into a film by Jonathan Levine (following up his first feature, the cancer comedy 50/50).
Imagine how a zombie feels, rambling about, day-in day-out, unable to communicate its needs or see a light at the end of its metaphysical tunnel. They’re not all brain-munching killers – have some sympathy! And well you might, as Nicholas Hoult’s (About A Boy, Skins) nice-guy “corpse” explains what life is like in a post-zombie apocalyptic America. Turns out he has thoughts and feelings just like the next person – albeit befuddled at times, and unable to be easily articulated – and at the end of the day, all anybody wants is to be loved, right?
In this innovative take on the genre, even the voiceover, so often evidence of a script-writer’s laziness, is hilarious as R falls for a human survivor called Julie (Australian actress Teresa Palmer). The romance is a slow, charming burn, but while listening to 80s classics on vinyl both must stay alive, alternately impersonating humans or corpses in efforts to dodge being shot or eaten. Now, that’s what I call a date movie.