Warm Bodies: A Cute Zombie RomCom of an Adventure

June 18, 2013 Rissi JC 37 Comments

Post-apocalyptic stories have caught on like fire in young adult fiction and at the box office. They intrigue me despite their eerie predictions. Also popular in today’s pop culture is the fandom of vampires, werewolves and zombies. Those stories are a sure sign I will ignore the movie. This movie did the impossible; it entertains, delights and charms me. Think Beauty and the Beast, with a twist.

Warm Bodies (2013) Film Review

warm bodies

R (Nicholas Hoult) doesn’t even know who he is anymore. He shuffles along for endless days that turn into weeks; the most exciting thing that happens is when he occasionally bumps into a passerby. He’s pale, his posture is terrible and, oh yeah, here’s the kicker: he is no longer among the living. Going by nothing other than “R,” he and his friend (Rob Conroy) are zombies along with a growing number of other “bodies.” As if things weren’t already bad enough, no one really knows how they even got there. But R is different. Sure he does eat human brains but at least he has the decency to feel bad about it, and then there are boney’s. Skeletons that you don’t want to mess with. 

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Everything starts to change when R and his pack go into the city, and after they attack a group of young humans trained with skills to kill and evade zombies, R rescues a girl named Julie (Teresa Palmer). A human whose boyfriend he just ate, inserting all of Perry’s memories as his own.

Call me crazy – heck, I even thought it of myself and wondered what it is that wins over my conservative sensibilities, but I actually like this movie. Reviewing this is… weird for me. I get that. For the sake of everything that is normal and comfortable, what part of my girl-who-likes-happily-ever-afters in the traditional sense could possibly like a gross, zombie-eating bunch of misfits – what pulls me in? I cannot answer the puzzle but what I can say is that I watched this movie in two settings, 24 hours apart and couldn’t wait to get back for the final climax.

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Misjudging a movie is not something I usually do since I tend to know what I like. Aside from knowing R is a zombie dude, I didn’t realize the setting was post-apocalyptic (duh! It’s about zombies!) nor did I realize how very reminiscent this is of a beloved children’s fairy tale. Sitting here even fifteen plus minutes after credits roll, I am still trying to figure out why I like Warm Bodies. This baffles me especially considering I am an avid Hallmark movie sort of girl. Somehow those two mediums don’t fit. By the end, I was grinning ridiculously and despite a rough start, I knew I’d just been duped by a sappy, cute and clever zombie romance.

While watching it, my mind kept backtracking to the classic story of Beauty and the Beast because of how things end and the sense of “redemption” the zombies need in order to enter a society that once shuns them (with good reason), however I suspect what the writer (it’s based on a book of the same name)intends is to put more of a Romeo and Juliet spin on it – could there be any more obvious of a shout-out than their names!?

warm bodies

If you can compartmentalize the story and get past the first fifteen to twenty minutes (with the zombie “gore”), you may actually enjoy the quirkiness of the story. Buried underneath the bit about the hero being dead beats the heart of a “traditional” teen romance. I really like Julie; she’s a bit of a rebel with a kick-butt, no-nonsense attitude and her relationship with R is… unique. There is no big break up blow-up (although they do part ways!), but there is legitimate cause (I mean, really, the dude annihilated her boyfriend). As for R, he’s quite amusing; and Hoult’s voice-over is clever and witty. The crushing he does on Julie is just… so cute! I mean he’s protective of her and in turn, she also reminds him something lost. The result is pretty cool since another thing I was unaware of was the “adventure” of the story.

“Keep. You. Safe. – Warm Bodies

This isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s quirky and marches to the beat of its own drum. I didn’t feel as if it put on airs that it was any “better” than the next teen romance (slow motion filming and eye locks prove that point!) but the music is cool in a vintage sort of way. If you lined up ten teen dramas that are the “typical” issue of shallow, this one does look a little deeper. True we may struggle to get past the canon by which its told or miss the point because of this distraction but at its heart, there is a good deal to glean from this movie. It encourages us to look beyond the physical to what a person’s character is; to show kindness where once that would have been impossible. It may not be as clever as it could be. But Warm Bodies is good.

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You can purchase or rent a digital copy of Warm Bodies on Amazon Video or buy it on DVD!

Warm Bodies: A Cute Zombie RomCom of an Adventure. A review of the 2013 #romance with Nicholas Hoult. #Zombies #Movies #Throwback Click To Tweet

Content: in the first twenty minutes, zombies kill and eat the brains of several people [there is blood on their faces, though most of the actual acts of killing is just out of camera range]; later R is seen eating brain [it’s not “gross”]. There is one or two uses of the f-word; other minor profanities pepper the script [sh*t, h*ll] and misuse of God/Jesus’ name. A girl strips down to her underwear after being drenched in the rain [we see a backside glimpse of her] and a guy’s upper back while he showers. The movie is PG13.

Photos: Summit

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Kellie June 18, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Interesting. I'm glad you reviewed this! Like you, it's not my normal fare by any stretch but perhaps, when I'm low on my list of movies to watch, I'd like to give this one a try. ;)

    • Rissi June 18, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Thank you, Kellie – I must admit I was nervous and undecided whether or not I should review it. Just because I think most of my readers are like us – we like traditional/Hallmark movies, and are proud of it! ;)

      This movie WAY stretched what I am usually "comfortable" with watching. That being said, it was surprisingly good – showing viewers that redemption is more than just a word, it needs to be experienced and felt.

    • Kellie June 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      One thing I've been learning while blogging is to write what's really you, not just what readers want or would necessarily approve of. Because it's your life, your blog, your journey with God. Granted, I don't walk around shouting out to everybody that I watch, say, Harry Potter, because I know people (some of them being my own family) who would really have an issue with that. But point being, never be afraid to be wholly, truly you. Blog for God and blog for you. Not just the readers. And that was all free today! ;)

      Ironically, my roommate actually watched that movie just the other day, and so when she told me last night she'd watched a zombie movie, I could actually sound knowledgeable and say "Oh, Warm Bodies?" Thank you for helping me look cool. *wink* She said it was…different, but the message at the end was really good. I'm thinking I'm bumping it up my list a few spaces nearer the top. Since my list isn't already crowded and overflowing as it is. :D

    • Rissi June 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      "One thing I've been learning while blogging is to write what's really you, not just what readers want or would necessarily approve of."

      Agree with this so much, Kellie! I have adopted that and offer it as advice to new bloggers also. (I've learned SO much during blogging and I consider it more a journey than anything else.) It's important to blog about what you are comfortable sharing; what your passions are. But I also believe it doesn't hurt to be considerate and to know what readers like – some topics are sensitive and for that reason I've not shared every post I've written that isn't a review and those I have, I try to be sensitive because I do respect my readers opinions. Some I am nervous about because I don't feel equipped to support knowledgably, others I just don't think are "good enough." (Guess that's the perfectionist in me. ;D)

      How I thank you for offering all that free. :) It means a lot – as do you as a reader.

      That is ironic that your roommate (Colleen, is it?) just watched Warm Bodies! Made me smile since we'd just chatted over here about it. ;) I'd agree with her; the movie *is* different – I mean it's quirky and not at all like other teen dramas I watch. That being said, the end result was beautiful. If/when you see it… do share what you think; always enjoy your perspective since you always have great/wise observations!

    • Kara June 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

      Just had to agree with Kellie here! I'm definitely learning that you should blog about what you enjoy. If people like it and comment, then yay! If they don't comment, then don't worry. Blog anyway. If you really like it, blog anyway.

      Great advice! :)

    • Rissi June 21, 2013 at 2:51 AM

      Agree with both of you – somehow an interested audience is more fun though because it inspires conversation. :)

  • Lizzie June 18, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I'm so excited you reviewed this movie! My sister has been strangely interested in watching it, and even though my taste is usually much like yours, I've been intrigued by what she's told me about it. It's great to get your perspective! I think we might give it a try!

    • Rissi June 18, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      Thank you, Lizzie – I was actually unsure whether I should review it since most of my readers don't seem to be "into" zombies or vampires or werewolves. Needless to say I thought about it but ended up sharing because well… it was cute and had a lot of "good" to say even under the guise of being a teen romance – complete with eye-locked stares. ;)

      Hope you and your sister enjoy it, Lizzie – let me know what you thought. :)

  • Charity June 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    I liked it too — it was a bit gross at times (the whole reliving memories by eating brains thing) but I really liked the redemptive role love plays in the film (it redeems, it transforms… sounds like Christ to me!).

    • Rissi June 18, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      You could have blown me over, Charity – I'd read some great reviews from people whom I respect but never in a million years did I think I'd actually fall (hook, line and sinker) for a zombie romance (I told my mom I didn't know what was wrong with me!). Goes to show you what I know. ;)

      Yeah, really just that first scene (at the lab) was "bad" for me then I got over it and enjoyed the rest quite a lot.

      If you compare it to most movies in its genre, this is one of the better ones (the redemptive message was actually "touching") – and that is worth a lot.

    • Charity June 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Well, you never know what you're going to like — so my advice is, try out as much stuff as possible!

      I also liked that the heroine is saving him through love, and isn't some shrinking violet who changes to be with him — instead, he changes to be with her! It's the ultimate anti-Twilight plot, which as a recovering feminist, I love. :D

    • Rissi June 19, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      True that – watched Beautiful Creatures the last couple nights also. It was okay (again not what I expected) though not anything I'll likely watch again. Liked this movie way better.

      Julie was an awesome character. Sure she's frightened at first (don't blame her – who'd like to be cornered by a zombie!?) but after that, she's nonchalant and a friendship blooms. How the change came about was priceless (Julie's devotion and love seemed natural and "real") and while skeptical at first that it would become a Twilight trap, I knew soon as we saw/heard R's heartbeat, the transformation had begun.

    • Charity June 20, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      I liked Beautiful Creatures a lot more as a movie than a book, but didn't care for all the Christian-bashing in either one. Emmy Rossum was fab, though.

    • Rissi June 21, 2013 at 2:56 AM

      Yeah… I was initially going to read the book. Now I don't think I'll even bother. I suspect that the book is more anti-Christian(?) than the film which was way "tamer" than I'd anticipated. That worked in its favor in my opinion.

      Emmy was superb (kept waiting for her to show up!) – she made the role interesting albeit darkly villainess and it was great to see her in something other than the role of the demure Christine.

    • Charity June 23, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      The book is a snooze-fest. 600+ pages of endless internal monologue, the constant rehashing of plot points, and too girlie of descriptions for a male lead that should have been 200+ pages.

    • Rissi June 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Ugh! Doesn't it just grate the wrong way when something has a long running time (looking at you, Man of Steel) or too many pages and doesn't use it well!? I mean, really! If a writer is going to expand subjects which in turn widens the length, they should at least fill it well. *sigh*

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com June 18, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Great review. I need to try again maybe. :)

    • Rissi June 18, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      Thanks for reading, Juju. Once I got past that first scene (at the lab), it was much easier to watch since R's transformation begins at that exact moment. It was certainly quirky but really good.

      Let me know your thoughts if you decide to give it another shot! :)

  • Carlyn Brody June 18, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    I thought it was a cute and funny movie. It was interesting that the zombie movie was told from the point of the view of the zombie, I don't think that's been done before.

    • Rissi June 18, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      It was, Carlyn! It just shocked me that I liked it. ;)

      R's commentary was really well done – who'd have thought that a hero who didn't speak could still be awesome!?

      Glad you enjoyed the movie – and as always, thank you for stopping in.

  • Gwendolyn Gage June 19, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Interesting review, Rissi. I was curious about this movie, although, I'm like you–zombie movies don't turn my head at all. But my sister loved it, so I was curious. Even more so having read your review. I'm wondering, how in the world did the script writer pull off the heroine's sympathy toward a zombie who killed her boyfriend?

    • Rissi June 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM

      Excellent point/question, Gwendolyn.

      I think it was made more "acceptable" because it was in R's nature to do that and there is one moment when Julie admits that she "knew" all along. (After that, things change and R becomes a better… well, zombie!) It all came together (writing, characters) very naturally in my impressions and surprisingly, the movie was cute/good/fun/compelling. There were messages that went beyond the surface and in pop culture today, that means something.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Tory June 19, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    Omg, I loved this movie too!!!!!!! :)

    • Rissi June 19, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      It was fun, wasn't it!? Surprised me how much I adored it. :)

      Glad you are a fan, Tory!

  • Kara June 20, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    I've been wanting to see this one! I know I say that about all your movie reviews, but it's true every single time!!! ;) But seriously, I really have. I had seen the book make its way around the blogosphere however long ago and it got tons of love. Had me curious although I could never convince myself to read it. You guessed it, because of the zombie-ness stuff. But when I heard they were making a movie, I got all intrigued again! Then I read other reviews that said it was great.

    So yeah, long story short, I gotta try this one. And soon! Now I only have to make the time for it to happen. :D Thanks Rissi!

    • Rissi June 21, 2013 at 3:21 AM

      Great timing then, Kara! :)

      I really liked that the story marched to its own beat – it was quirky, unique and clever! When consumers ask for something different, we have to acknowledge when writers bring their a-game. Warm Bodies did. Surprisingly, I do believe it will be a re-watch for me. Someone recommended the book but I don't like the idea of "foul language." Who needs to wade through that!?

      If you see it, as always, I'd be curious for your thoughts. The redemptive qualities were what I liked best about it – that and Julie's even-headed temperament. Oh, yes and of course, the cute crushing R does on her. ;)

  • Melissa Tagg June 20, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Okay, I ADORED this movie…so much that I wrote not one, but two blog posts about it back in February. First of all, I am incredibly picky on my modern rom-coms…I've massively disliked almost every rom-com I've seen in the past few years. So when I saw Warm Bodies it was like FINALLY, finally Hollywood got a rom-com right…they held the tension all the way through the movie. Plus, it was hilarious…just plain hilarious. And all the metaphors…ahh, I could gush on and on. So glad you liked it too!

    • Melissa Tagg June 20, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Also, I really just love saying I watched a zom-rom-com.

    • Rissi June 21, 2013 at 3:25 AM

      No one was more surprised than me, Melissa. Having said that your blogging about it was one of the deciding factors in my seeing it – thank you for writing so much and so skillfully about the movie! :)

      Despite my skepticism, it was entertaining to watch this. R crushing on Julie? Adorable. Julie's awesome attitude? Finally! (Here was a heroine who wasn't some whimpering female.) The redemptive message? Beautiful. I'll confess rom-coms are a weakness of mine but I do recognize they are cliché – still doesn't stop me from gushing over them. ;) Already I expect to re-watch this one. It was that cute. :)

      …and I LOVE that: zom-rom-com. That rules!

  • Sarah July 19, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    "..I knew I’d just been duped by a sappy, cute and clever zombie romance." This made me laugh. Love the review, and the movie! I can't figure out exactly WHY I liked it SO MUCH, but I did… maybe if I watch it again… ;)

    • Rissi July 20, 2013 at 3:03 AM

      Thanks for reading, Sarah – I am in the same boat as you. Don't have a clue WHY this one was so entertaining, it just was. Perhaps those are the best "kind" of movies. :)

      Glad you saw and liked it so well also – methinks I need a rewatch, too!

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