From the trailer, it certainly wasn’t promising. Zombies with perfectly white teeth, a human that falls in love with one of the undead, a loose reference to Romeo and Juliet and all pitched as comedy/horror/romance crossover. With a hefty dollop of sarcasm, what could possibly go wrong? The answer is – plenty.
Most of the world has been turned into a shuffling population of mumbling, brain-eating dead people, sectioned off behind huge security gates that segregate them from the nice humans.
However, from the off, we are taken into the mind of one of the exiled, nameless zombies as he attempts to come to terms with his demise. But far from being a typical member of the undead, this one is also comical, strangely good looking (surprise surprise!) and listens to the 1980s vinyl on his grounded plane (what zombie doesn’t?).
Periodically, teams are sent into the zombie squats to gain any useful supplies such as medicines and so on. One such foray sees Julie (Palmer) and her boyfriend Perry (Franco) – intent on avenging the death of his Father – make the perilous raid on their enemies.
Unsurprisingly the questionably agile and skilled fighting zombies catch them and Perry’s brain becomes breakfast. Seemingly trapped, the nameless one rescues Julie, and so a romance begins.
As the attraction blossoms, R (as Julie names him) has to live through the memories of Perry, an unfortunate consequence of digesting his victim’s grey matter.
Meanwhile, Julie eats fruit salad and drinks beer. A perfect relationship… apart from the fact that other, less understanding zombies fancy a bite of Julie: as do the Bonies, creatures that appear content to eat just about anything or anyone.
As long-neglected emotions are evoked in R, his fondness for Julie has a similar effect on the other dead folk and they all start to feel ‘alive’ again.
However, trying to convince Julie’s gun-toting Father (Malkovich) that they aren’t all so bad proves something of a challenge.
Warm Bodies isn’t a terrible movie, it just struggles with its identity. The mix of comedy, gore, tension, and romance never quite works. Some ‘laugh out loud’ moments seem unintentional, and so undermine the intended gags.
There is some decent action and a good on-screen rapport between the two leads. Another movie to add to the ever-growing ‘It’s ok’ list.