A Zombie Movie With Heart?
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer,
Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry,
Dave Franco, John Malkovich,
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 97 minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate
Director: Jonathan Levine
Executive Producer: John Brooks Klingenbeck, Cori
Stern, Nicolas Stern, Laurie
Producer: David Hoberman, Todd
Lieberman, Bruna Papandrea
Writer: Jonathan Levine
Address Comments To:Jon Feltheimer, CEO
AKA Lions Gate Films (Summit Entertainment/Roadside Attractions)
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200
Fax: (310) 255-3870
Straying from typical zombie stereotypes, WARM BODIES presents a more human-like zombie. Their flesh is pale, they stagger around, and all they can do for communication is grunt. Yes, they still eat living human flesh, but R narrates that at least he feels conflicted about it, unlike the “bonies,” the skeletal zombies who’ve lost all appearance of human form. R limps around the airport while narrating, longing for something more. Like human connection, but what does he know about human connection? He’s dead!
R introduces the audience to M, his best friend. Through their rugged grunting, they decide to wander into the city to find food (aka, humans) to eat. Their journey for food begins.
Meanwhile, Julie is a young girl who lives in a human safe zone in the city. With fortified walls and armed guards, it’s fairly impenetrable. Julie’s father is the General in command of the safe zone. Julie, her boyfriend Perry, and a group of other young people are sent outside the safe zone to gather medical supplies. During the excursion, it’s clear that Perry is emotionally detaching himself from Julie. The group is collecting medicine in a pharmacy when a hoard of hungry zombies, led by R, invade the pharmacy and attack the humans.
The ragtag group of humans fight back, but they’re outnumbered. In the midst of the meelee, R sees Julie and something unexpected happens. He has a sudden urge to protect her rather than eat her. The battle continues, and R overcomes Perry, eating his brains. Across the room, Julie runs out of ammo and seems to be facing certain death. To her surprise, R doesn’t bite her. Instead, he leads her out of the zombie hoard and back to his home, where she’ll be safe.
Julie is surprised at how human R still is. His home (an abandoned airplane) is full of trinkets and LP record albums that he collects and enjoys. Julie is surprised to see glimpses of humanity in the way R listens to music. R convinces Julie to stay a few days till it’s safe to leave. In the process, this heartless zombie begins to form feelings he can’t explain.
WARM BODIES strays from traditional zombie mythology by presenting more human-like zombies with individual personalities. Although this creates some plot-holes, the atmosphere and humor in WARM BODIES is quite appealing. It tastefully breaks many of the rules of the Zombie genre, but does so in a way that’s enjoyable rather than gross and disturbing. Nicholas Hoult as R is as charming as a zombie can be. His implausible but witty narration helps the audience connect to his character.
WARM BODIES has a light mixed pagan worldview. Though it contains some strong Romantic notions of love, its core story idea of love curing death also has strong Christian, redemptive and biblical connotations. Of course, the Christian parallel to the movie’s plot is Jesus Christ, who overcame death and who will ultimately destroy it forever (1 Cor 15:26). Thus, WARM BODIES provides some thoughtful themes regarding death, life, love, and friendship. In that light, it contains positive moral, redemptive elements of being a selfless friend and even sacrificing yourself for the one you love. Finally, a character says, “God Bless America,” at one point.
The filmmakers clearly avoid hyper zombie violence in WARM BODIES. Thus, they manage to maintain a PG-13 rating. Nonetheless, there are still some violent aspects to the zombies’ human-centric diet, but they aren’t extremely graphic. In fact, the bigger problem with WARM BODIES may be its profane use of God’s name several times. Because of these elements, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for media wise moviegoers.
WARM BODIES strays from traditional zombie mythology by presenting more lifelike zombies with their own personalities. This creates some plot-holes. However, the atmosphere and humor in WARM BODIES is appealing. Despite some Romantic notions of love, the core story of love curing death has some positive Christian, redemptive, biblical connotations. Of course, the Christian parallel is Jesus Christ, whose sacrificial love rescues us. That said, WARM BODIES has some strong zombie violence and foul language, so extreme caution is advised.