"Warm Bodies" is my favorite zombie movie since "Shaun of the Dead." Could it be that buried somewhere deep down in what remains of zombie consciousness is a little spark of humanity?
Nicholas HOult stars as "R," yes, just the letter. It seems since becoming a zombie he just can't remember his real name, but he feels it started with … right, an R. We're treated to this young walking corpse's inner thoughts as he meanders aimlessly through the abandoned airport where he and a legion of other brain-eaters reside. The only goal appears to be to sniff out any stray human and dine on their gray matter. R's inner thoughts let us know that while he participates in human feasts, he's at least conflicted. There are a few other indications that the spark of life is not completely extinguished, including a few grunts and groans shared with a zombie friend.
Meanwhile, behind a huge wall encircling part of what remains of a great city, the non-infected humans are holed up, fighting to survive. Every now and then, small squadrons of young, warm-blooded adventurers are dispatched into the ruins to acquire essential materials.
It is just such a mission that affords R the opportunity to see Julie for the first time. Teresa Palmer stars as the lovely daughter of the leader of the survivors who, along with other young colleagues, has been assigned to gather medical supplies. This is when the zombies attack. It's a bit of a difficult moment because R is savoring the brains of Julie's boyfriend while his fellow dead are trying to kill Julie. But R is smitten and protects his new love by leading her back to his lair, which happens to be a derelict airliner.
Now lest I reveal too much, let me simply say that during this protected captivity he begins to literally warm up around her and she begins to thaw towards him. In other words, could he be changing and could she be recognizing the transformation? Ah, but their problems are just beginning. His zombie friends still want to eat her and her folks feel the need to shoot him in the head. A little twisted Romeo and Juliet thing is going on here and yes, we even have a balcony scene. I'm not kidding.
But, there's more. Ever wonder what ultimately happens to a zombie? Well, they start to really deteriorate and eventually rip off their skin and evolve into a "Bonie." This is not a good thing and they will eat anybody, living or dead. See where this might be going?
I have to stop. I really like this movie. The performances are terrific, Palmer and Hoult are perfect, John Malkovich as Julie's dad is over-the-top, but it works. The effects are great, humor is at a maximum, blood and gore … well, it could have been worse.
As I said earlier, this is my favorite zombie movie since Shaun of the Dead and it's only rated PG-13. I'm giving "Warm Bodies" 3 stars.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company