Jonathan Levine’s “Warm Bodies” won the weekend box-office race for a couple of reasons.
It’s a romantic comedy that works, for one thing. For another, it’s a smart reworking of “Romeo and Juliet.”
And, finally, it takes the zombie genre someplace it hasn’t been before – though, at this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone coming up with a tale about the walking dead (including “The Walking Dead”) that could say anything new about what apparently a lot of people assume will be an inevitable zombie apocalypse.
(Interestingly, one of the trailers prior to the movie-theater showing of “Warm Bodies” I saw over the weekend was for “World War Z,” which appears to have nothing to do with the novel on which it is based – other than, um, that zombie apocalypse.)
Nicholas Hoult, a smart and attractive young actor, plays R, one of the living dead who wander the streets of America (or, in the case of this film, Montreal), searching for the remaining humans in order to feast on their brains. The corpses (as the humans call them) can’t really talk, they don’t sleep and they don’t necessarily evince feelings (though R obviously has them, as evidenced by his voice-over).
Then one night, while preying upon a party of humans who have strayed beyond their walled-in refuge to search for pharmaceuticals to help the still-living populace, R sees Julie (Teresa Palmer) and it’s love at first sight. Instead of biting her, he rescues her, hiding her in the empty 747 where he’s been squirreling away goods he’s found that apparently remind him of being alive – things like a vinyl record player, snow globes, trophies and other detritus of the recent past.
The more time he spends with her, the more human he seems to become. And it starts to rub off on his fellow corpses, led by M (Rob Corddry). The question is: How far will this “cure” go?
This review continues on my website.