Refreshing, gorgeous, peculiar but nevertheless still mass appealing – Warm Bodies is a surprising triumph of genre bending cinema, bringing together typical conventions to produce an innovative film with a completely wholesome charm.
In an apocalyptic world ravaged by zombies, the remaining humans live behind a concrete wall, trying desperately to get supplies and launch attacks against the undead. The film centres around R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who begins the film in one of many fabulous internal monologues, questioning his existence. It’s all set up wonderfully, creating a world which feels instantly real and a zombie lead who’s predicament is humorously sympathetic. R finds himself amongst a zombie hoard attacking a group of humans collecting medical supplies. He kills and eats the brain of the boyfriend of Julie (Teresa Palmer) who he awkwardly chooses to save, achieving exactly the sort of fascinating, bizarre but completely affectionate relationship that most fantasy/horror films (and indeed rom-coms) strive desperately to attain.
It’s all cut together brilliantly, with a terrific sense for timing and pacing. It looks gorgeous, feeling rough and independently made in its storytelling (despite a sizable $30m budget), leaving its audience constantly unsure where the film might choose to go but it’s tied together with a slick, polished aesthetic which matches Nicholas Hoult unsurprisingly pretty looking zombie. He’s stuck playing a zombie all movie which has it’s limits but director Jonathan Levine (who made his name with the equally genre bending 50/50) does such a great job of bringing the film to life that you never tire nor get annoyed by Hoult’s undead presence. It’s funny and romantic but and the script is sharp as a knife. It’s a real, rare treat which is sure to unite cinema goers of all dispositions. If it isn’t a huge box office success, it’s a film I’m sure will be discovered by a diverse cult of fans, delighting many in years to come.
Review by David Rank
Warm Bodies is released on 8th February in the UK. Certificate 12a (UK). Running time 97 mins.
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