A zombie romantic comedy? Well, yes. And an entertaining one, too!
Warm Bodies owes its charm to its central character R, played by Nicholas Hoult. He’s a zombie who has the ability to be objective about his plight. (We learn his thoughts via voiceover.)
He finds humor in the slow, plodding gait of his fellow zombies (and himself). He chuckles inwardly about the vague grunts that pass for communication among the walking dead. He also reveals that he is lonely.
When a group of normal humans (who live within a fortified enclave, following the vague event that has decimated civilization) venture out and encounter zombies, the results are not good. The zombies launch a ruthless attack, but R chooses to spare one young woman named Julie, played by Teresa Palmer.
He does eat her boyfriend’s brain, which causes him to experience the late boyfriend’s memories, many of which are about Julie. (Don’t worry about the brain eating scenes; this is not a gross-out movie.)
After Julie escorts him back to the abandoned jetliner he lives (okay, exists) in, his attempts to communicate his affection are best delivered by songs he plays on old vinyl LPs.
Eventually he leads her back to the enclave and, later, manages to slip within the walls himself. This sets up the climax involving the zombies, the even more ruthless skeletal zombies and the normal humans. The leader of the normals, played by John Malkovich, is also Julie’s father.
Warm Bodies (rated PG-13) is a lightweight film targeted to young adults and teens. It’s also okay for most pre-teens, despite its low-level gore and violence. This movie’s slugline could be “zombies are people, too,” as R is revealed to have human emotions despite his condition.
I don’t consider it a spoiler to mention that the film has some parallels with a famous classic play about a certain “R & J,” but Warm Bodies has a much gentler ending.