Warm Bodies is anything but hot

Victor Dos Santos, Assistant A&E Editor

The outstanding success of the Twilight films has inspired filmmakers to capitalize on the human qualities of fantasy monsters.

This time, the beast of choice is zombies, and they are the objects of sex appeal.  This type of attractive undead are the subject of the new romantic comedy Warm Bodies.

Warm Bodies sports a diverse cast with a script that is less than hot.  It is an interesting premise, but is not executed well and ends up feeling like a missed opportunity.

The film tells the story of protagonist R (Nicholas Hoult), a young-looking zombie who turns sour when he realizes his future as a re-animated corpse offers him little to look forward to.  This changes when he encounters Julie (Teresa Palmer), a human, and saves her from being attacked by another zombie.

It is love at first sight for R, and his inexplicable affection for Julia starts to cure him.  The effect somehow spreads to the other zombies, causing them to grow new hearts.

Zombies can only communicate in grunts and moans, which should make character development difficult.  Writer-director Jonathan Levine circumvents this issue by having R narrate a good deal of the film.  His narration is where the film shines, as Hoult delivers some of the more interesting, clever, and character-driven dialogue.

We immediately get the sense that, as a zombie, R feels secluded and longs for human connection.  The film initially takes the same route as Shaun of the Dead, where the characters are seen as reflections of zombies because of their mindless daily routines.

That idea is abandoned around the halfway point and Warm Bodies becomes the “love conquers all” movie that tween audiences beg for.

While the relationship between the two leads is genuine enough to warrant smiles, the film is overall a little too happy. Viewers never have a sense of danger or threat throughout Warm Bodies, least of all in the bloodless climax that features zombies fighting skeletons.

The film did not take advantage of its premise, choosing to focus on the relationship between R and Julie, and of course the fact that this film is a twist on the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet.

It’s not all bad.  The relationship between R and Julie is genuinely sweet to watch, even if it does become a bit much by the film’s final frame.  The two have some great chemistry and Hoult’s narration is charismatic and funny enough to keep you consistently entertained.

If only Levine had chosen to “warm up” by watching a few zombie movies before hand, he’d have written an indie-zom-com as opposed to an indie-rom-com.

To sum up Wam Bodies one might consider it a hundred minute mindless popcorn flick like Transformers, but a thriller with heart, a hostage drama that wants to be both funny and poignant. For some, it might just manage to work.