Warm Bodies Review: A Zombified ‘Romeo & Juliet’

Photo Credit: http://www.amctheatres.com/Tags/Warm%20Bodies

I doubt when Shakespeare wrote his masterpiece Romeo & Juliet that he had an update like this in mind. But alas! This offbeat adaptation of the novel of the same name is funny, charming, and oddly romantic.

Warm Bodies follows R (Nicholas Hoult), as a zombie who tells us, through flawlessly delivered inner monologues that he is lonely and misses his old life. Enter Julie (Teresa Palmer), the living human who gets R’s heart beating again. Could love bring a zombie apocalypse to its end? Sure, why not?

This isn’t a movie where you should ask too many questions. The true antagonists are these ultra zombies, which R calls bonies, that have no chance of coming back. John Malkovich plays Julie’s strict, un-approving father. So yeah, it’s basically Romeo & Juliet of Romeo’s side of the conflict were made up of the living dead.

Director Jonathan Levine also wrote the script, which admittedly, contains some weak dialogue. But other than that, and Palmer’s uninspired performance, Warm Bodies is a pleasure this time of year and will likely be the best movie this Valentine’s season.

Hoult gives as much subtlety as he can to the required goofiness of being a zombie the whole movie. He is actually a very funny actor, lending the film much of its humor in the disguise of horror. So few young faces in Hollywood today could have pulled that off. There’s some worthy laugh out loud moments as he sifts through his record collection and Julie teaches him to drive a car.

Amazingly, he creates a lively connection to Julie despite his character being very…not alive. It’s a love story that will put a big grin on your face all the way through.

Zombie fans will be pleased too as the film plays by the rules that such classics as Night of the Living Dead and other classics put in place when creating the subgenre.

For those who may see this as the next TwilightWarm Bodies doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as those films. And it doesn’t have Kristen Stewart, which makes any movie a little better.

Warm Bodies is its own monster, and actually a really funny one. It’s a sweet gesture to expand the genre into new territory while never forgetting neither its horror nor romantic comedy roots. It is definitely the first movie worth watching this year, and then some. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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