If there's such a thing as a romantic notion when it comes to zombie lore, it's the idea that a cure or virus reversal is possible.
In the rare cases where it is found, it usually involves a antidote of some sort, sometimes given as a vaccine to uninfected.
Of course, any discussion around what's "plausible" under circumstances involving zombies is in itself preposterous, but Warm Bodies really does stretch past the conceivable in this genre.
Based on the novel by by Isaac Marion, it's a post-apocalyptic "Romeo and Juliet" tale (No, really, the main characters include zombie teen "R" and zombie fighter, Julie. Get it?) that asks you to accept the concept that it's possible love can, indeed, conquer all
—including reversing the effects of death.
Nicholas Hoult is "R," the undead admirer of Julie (Teresa Palmer). With his wide-eyed, transfixed stare and lurch, R comes off like an intensely zombified Tom Cruise (insert your own joke here) trying to break free of his physical rigidity to express how he really feels. Meanwhile Julie is the Kristen Stewart-meets-Scarlett Johansson protagonist who, despite being raised to battle and hate zombies, takes a strange interest in R after he saves her from zombie consumption by others. That comes after he kills and eats the brains of her boyfriend, in turn taking in all his memories.
The unlikely pair initially communicate through basic dialog and R's record collection that includes everything from Bob Dylan to Gun's n' Roses. It's a unique take on a well-worn genre, even if it's kind of hard to swallow (even for a zombie movie).
Director Jonathan Levine (50/50) creates a proper apocalyptic palette, but what Warm Bodies really lacks is story development. Everything moves along too quickly. And while the film's gimmick would really falter past a 90-minute point, it might have helped to spend more time on the coupling of R and Julie and how they could possibly connect romantically. It all just snaps into place too easily. The movie does get bonus points for casting John Malkovich as Julie's militant leader father and Rob Corddry as a surprisingly cool looking zombie.
Warm Bodies opens today in theaters.