Warm Bodies – Review
February 13, 2013 2 Comments
Film Review by FilmFellaHenry – 2/10
Cashing in on the current zombie fad comes Warm Bodies, a supposed horror comedy adapted from Isaac Marion’s same titled novel. The setup is a standard zombie holocaust, humans walling themselves up in a city district, while the rest of America shambles about on the prowl for fresh brains. R (Nicholas Hoult) is one such walking corpse, aimlessly roaming an undead infested US airport, trying to recall a forgotten past while taking part in the occasional human hunt. But when he meets human survivor Julie (Teresa Palmer), something inside him changes: he saves her precious cranium from mastication, sneaks her back to the airport and begins a journey that could potentially end his purgatorial fate.
The first point I’d like to make about Warm Bodies (oh, Spoiler Alert for my non-existent teen girl readership) is that IT IS NOT A ZOMBIE MOVIE. Zombies are walking corpses, devoid of anything beyond a faint mimicking of their activities in life and gorging on gore. They are a rotting, cursed horde, simply there to overwhelm the poor bastards still alive and cover the world in death. Nothing fancy, just an animated hunk of dead flesh with teeth. Simple and exactly how I like ’em.
Warm Bodies, on the other hand, decides to take a steaming dump on over forty years of established zombie film mythos by re-writing the rules. Now I’m all for innovation, such as R’s interior monologue introduced early on, however when zombies start talking, I know something ain’t right. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We see R play records, recline in airplane seats, hold full conversations with other humans and at one point he even drives a fucking car.
Not a great start. In keeping with the overall themes of bullshit and genre-wrecking, a new villain is introduced, (supposedly to make the zombies seem ok), in the form of undead who have somehow transformed into bad CGI skeletons. Those familiar with the Fallout game world will recognize ghouls and feral ghouls; for the uninitiated, think of a badly rendered CGI Lindsey Lohan before and after a coke binge.
And the human survivors aren’t much better. When first introduced to a zombie that is not only sentient and can talk, but is also an avid vinyl collector and has a clear crush on her, Julie simply complains that she’s hungry and wants to go home. No desire to investigate this incredible phenomenon, or explore how R could be the potential saviour to the human race – she just wants to fill her face and split. Her father Grigio (John Malkovich) isn’t much better. The overblown military diehard’s character can be boiled down to two motivations: 1) Kill anything that doesn’t look quite human; 2) Ignore everyone and everything that questions motive 1. Malkovich, what were you thinking?!
Ok. So far we have a zombie that’s not a zombie, humans that make less sense than a dog eating its own feces and a horde of characterless skeletal plot motivators. But what about the action? It’s got (psuedo) zombies and it’s meant to be a horror flick, so surely there’s some blood and guts, right? WRONG. This sucker’s a 12A/PG13, so don’t expect anything bar a few squibs and some munching noises. Similarly, the narrative is intentionally geared towards a younger audience, with the cringe worthy, ham fistedly delivered message that ‘love conquers all’ – even rotted husks of cannibalistic meat, it would seem.
Warm Bodies, for all intents and purposes, is Twilight, but done worse. A popular cult horror icon is perverted and twisted until it resembles the safe, aesthetically and emotionally pleasing icon of a film aimed at young girls. Although my horror senses scream ‘Abomination!’, I’m actually fine with it in principle: every section of society deserves to have entertainment catered for them. What I am not fine with is the blatant mis-marketing Warm Bodies has utilised in order to get bums on seats. The trailer presented me with a horror-comedy featuring one of my favourite movie monsters. What I got was a film that had no zombies, was not a horror and failed to make me laugh even once. For that, my scorn is without limit and it gets a Rage Vote.