Then he falls for Julie, a human girl. Yes, he’s a zombie who just ate her boyfriend’s brains, but will that really stand in the way between him?
Julie is horrified by R except he’s not like any zombie she’s ever seen. First, he’s not trying to kill her. Second, he can talk. Third, he has a pretty sweet record collection.
Can these two crazy kids make it work? Or, rather, can a zombie and a human make it work?
The Good: Such a good, funny movie!
It starts with a monologue by R that is just hysterical because all the angst he is talking about could easily be said by anyone. What he is going through is heightened by the fact that the reason he is wondering about his place in the world is he is dead. And a zombie. Who eats people.
“What am I doing with my life? I’m so pale. I should get out more. I should eat better. My posture is terrible. I should stand up straighter. People would respect me more if I stood up straighter. What’s wrong with me? I just want to connect. Why can’t I connect with people? Oh, right, it’s because I’m dead. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I mean, we’re all dead. This girl is dead. That guy is dead. That guy in the corner is definitely dead. Jesus these guys look awful.” (Quote from the IMDB site for the film).
And then the funny turns to scary to remind us that R is a zombie by showing us an attack by the zombies on a group of humans; an attack on a group of scavengers led by Julie and her boyfriend Perry. R kills Perry and eats his brains.
And this is where Warm Bodies adds not one but two interesting things to zombie lore. First is R’s hanging onto his humanity, and his gradual reclamation of his humanity, both mentally and physically. Second, when R eats someone’s brains, he experiences that person’s memories. Part of his connection with Julie, the connection that saves Julie’s life as well as pushes R even farther towards becoming more human, is based in part on his experiencing Perry’s memories of loving Julie. That’s sick and funny and I loved it.
As you can probably tell from the names, Warm Bodies is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It’s a love story between star-crossed lovers. And it’s a zombie movie with a twist: is it possible to save those zombies with, well, love and acceptance? And less you think that makes this movie tame, Warm Bodies also introduces super-zombies called Bonies, who are little more than skeletons and muscle, with no shred of humanity left. Let’s just say that even the zombies fear the Bonies.
For a bit more serious look at zombies being cured and returning to living with humans, check out BBC America’s In The Flesh.