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Warm Bodies - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published March 29th 2013
Director: Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness)
Cast: Nichaolas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco

This is the age old tale of boy meets girl, except boy is dead. That would normally make for a short story, but love changes everything in Warm Bodies, even if you're a zombie.

Hollywood's first stab at a zom-rom-com has the added novelty of telling its story from the zombie's point of view. Cue our narrator, a nice enough teenage boy (if you can forgo the fact that he's undead), who has enough presence of mind to know that life was better back in the day when he could interact with people. If only he could remember his name, which he thinks begins with R. As it is, he lurches around in an abandoned airport with a motley crew of fellow zombies. Together they shuffle outside on a regular basis for their next human meal.

It's on one of these excursions that R eyes Julie, who is part of a civilian volunteer army battling the growing number of undead. It's love at first sight on his part, but how do you get the girl when you're a zombie?

The course of true love never did run smooth, and that's especially so here. Writer/director Levine does a great job of maintaining an internal logic to this story of a boy with no heart and his attempts to win over the girl of his dreams. He's aided by a terrific performance from Nicholas Hoult, who with little in the way of dialogue or conventional responses and facial expressions, manages to be consistently funny and sympathetic. He and Aussie Teresa Palmer make a fine pair, even if he does look a little under the weather.

Despite the natural charm they engender together, it could be debated that the real on-screen chemistry is between R and his 'best friend', fellow zombie M. They may struggle to string a few words together, but their exchanges are highly entertaining.

While R has love on his mind, there is still the palpable threat of death to humans from the zombies and the zombies have their own nemeses with the ever present 'bonies'. Even so, there's still plenty of room for a lot of laughs between the romance and killings.

There's something for almost everyone in Warm Bodies, it's smart, fun and it wears its heart on its blood soaked sleeve.

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Why? Hollywood's first zom-rom-com
Where: At cinemas everywhere
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