It’s incredibly exciting to see director Jonathan Levine return to his horror roots. Since his teen masterpiece All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was buried by Dimension, among others, he’s gone on to direct some wonderful films. Now, he’s back in the genre with his adaptation of Warm Bodies, a Twilight-esque emo-hipster zombie film that’s charming, cute and sorta fun.
The film follows Nicholas Hoult as a zombie named “R” (because he can’t remember his name) who navigates the viewer through the film via his constant yammering. He falls for a human survivor, Julie (Teresa Palmer), who learns that zombies aren’t just black-hearted creatures of the night. Together they discover something that could change the world, which leads them on a dangerous journey.
Warm Bodies makes wonderful social commentary about how we’ve become a society obsessed with technology, so much so that we’ve put up giant walls, and thus need to learn how to connect again. It comes off a bit heavy-handed at times, as well as being a tad too on the nose and requiring the viewer to have a high level of suspension of disbelief.
And while the studio continually promised it’s not a “Twilight” zombie movie, without a shadow of doubt, it is. But, unlike the Twilight films, Warm Bodies is beautifully shot, features relatable characters, and a carries a romance that the viewer may actually connect with. There’s a lot to like about Warm Bodies, even if you’re into old school horror.
Still, the hardcore horror nuts may be turned off by the lack of violence and gore typically shrouding the zombie subgenre. There’s nothing but cutaways and implied violence, but the film isn’t about that – it’s about us, looking in a mirror and making changes to our cold-hearted lives… recognizing that we’re all zombies in the modern world. There’s something special about a film that actually has something to say, which is why Warm Bodies gets a soft pass. But don’t expect to fall love with the film as there’s still an inherent lack of intensity and excitement. Ultimately, Warm Bodies is a bold and unique new look at zombies in a way that’s more than just a faceless horde of undead creatures eating brains.