Warm Bodies (Released in the USA 2/1/13; released in the UK 8/2/13)
R (Nicholas Hoult) is just your every day young adult, except for one major inconvenience; he’s a bit dead. He and his buddies like nothing better than to munch on the brains of the living, until one day he kills and eats Perry (Dave Franco) and falls in love with his girlfriend Julie (Teresa Palmer); unfortunately she’s still alive, and her father (John Malkovich) is the leader of the army unit charged with eliminating the zombie hordes which surround the now walled off city.
R – Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class; Clash of the Titans; TV’s Skins)
Julie Grigio – Teresa Palmer (The Sorceror’s Apprentice; The Grudge 2; I Am Number Four)
Colonel Grigio – John Malkovich (Con Air; Being John Malkovich; In the Line of Fire)
Marcus – Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine; Cedar Rapids; TV’s Children’s Hospital)
Perry – Dave Franco (TV’s Scrubs; 21 Jump Street; Fright Night)
Directed and written by Jonathan Levine (50/50; All the Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Based on the novel “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion
What Did I Think of the Film?
This was actually a very clever zombie comedy, or zombedy, as it made excellent use of the voiceover to tell R’s personal thoughts even though he is incapable of speech (you know, cos he’s a zombie). I liked the idea of telling the story from the zombies POV, and idea which stems back to when the late, great Bill Hinzman (the cemetery zombie from Night of the Living Dead) wrote, directed and starred in the 80s filmFleshEater.
Our setting at first is within the airport where R and his friend Marcus (Rob Corddry) live amongst the other zombies. We actually get a pretty jumpy scene at the beginning which caught me by surprise, I’ve never jumped that much for an actual horror, never mind a bloody comedy!
The use of the airport gives us a great vacuous setting, where we can associate walking aimlessly from gate to gate without giving another person a moment’s thought. It finds the tone of the film perfectly and allows the audience to buy into the premise fairly early on. The use of the 80s rock music throughout keeps the tone very light and creates a warm atmosphere from when R first brings back Julie to his “home” and plays Missing You by John Waite. It’s very appropriate for the situation given that Perry has only been dead for a few hours.
Jonathan Levine made an interesting start in the horror genre when he rolled out All the Boys Love Mandy Lane in 2006, but it didn’t feel quite right. Now I know why! Comedy horror is definitely where he should be, and writing as well as directing allowed his humour to come over a lot more than in AtBLML. Warm Bodies is certainly an excellent piece of work to build on, and I expect to see more good films from the pen of Levine in years to come.
The main character, R, was a magnificent comedy role for young English actor Nicholas Hoult (who I think most film fans will remember as Beast in the last X-Men film). His delivery of the deadpan (pardon the pun) comedy was excellent, and I loved his facial expressions, especially when he was caught staring at Julie. Great bit of acting, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing Jack the Giant Slayer where he takes the title role. Rob Corddry played off him magnificently, some of the scenes where he just makes a wee throwaway comment are excellent and are a joy to watch.
I notice that I haven’t yet mentioned the Grigio’s… it seems strange but I don’t really feel I can talk about a legend like John Malkovich in a film where his presence was over shadowed so much by wonderful performances by Hoult and Corddry! The same goes for the lovely Julie, she and her friend Nora (played by Analeigh Tipton from America’s Next Top Model) have a couple of great scenes back at the Grigio place, and do a great job of setting the scene for the arrival of R in a scene reminiscent of William Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Juliet.
Finally to say something which people always look at you in strange way when you say it… I have always been disappointed by Shaun of the Dead. I found out to be extremely trite, even for a film about zombies. I certainly consider this to be a much more enjoyable film, with far better acting and much more interesting characters. Whether we give the credit to Levine, or to the original author I can’t be sure, but one thing I know is that I would happily purchase the DVD when it comes out!
Go and see this film if you a fan of zombedies, it’s an entertaining little feature which pretty quickly made me forget my hangover! Certainly worth a place alongside Zombieland and Dead Snow in the zombedy stakes.
Don’t bother taking young kids, it’s really not appropriate for them. Although there isn’t much in the way of horror, it’s still not really suitable for being a 12A. In fact I hate that rating, it means nothing. Get rid of it!
7/10 – I, and the rest of the cinema, laughed all the way through Warm Bodies, thanks to the excellent combination between Corddry and Hoult, but I was very sad to see the lack of comedy moments featuring Dave Franco. Comedy is his strong point,and to only have very few scenes, most of which featured his character’s memories and little chance to show his great comedic delivery, was a little disappointing.
Alan Redman – @Every1LuvsPingu