Warm Bodies

Last night I saw an advance screening of WARM BODIES, a zombie love story.

GUY BEHIND ME BEFORE MOVIE STARTED: This is a scary zombie movie, right?

GIRL WITH HIM: No, it’s a love story.

GUY: Are you KIDDING me?!? Why didn’t we go see ZERO DARK THIRTY?!?

It’s a fun little movie. Lots of small laughs throughout, and the zombie love story is actually kind of charming. You’d think that the zombie/human love story would be the hardest part to get right; oddly enough, the film does that well but botches almost everything else.

The zombie behavior (even within the context of a story where the zombies “get better”) is wildly inconsistent. They can’t make up their mind if these are slow zombies or fast zombies, how much they recall from their previous lives, if they detect humans by the way they smell, or how much physical strength they have. Since it’s based on a book (which I haven’t read) I would’ve thought they’d have worked this stuff out.

You can feel the studio executives hanging out on set saying “Remember, our audience is 14-year-old girls!” The guy who plays the main zombie does a great job, but–one surprising early moment aside–the filmmakers hedge their bets and make sure he’s never TOO much like a zombie. We don’t want the audience to think he’s less than hawt. His best zombie friend (the most obnoxious guy from HOT TUB TIME MACHINE) is one of the least zombie-esque zombies ever captured on film. Whispering your lines does not make you a zombie.

The central conflict isn’t that big of a conflict, the “skeletons” (zombies who have regressed to the point of no return) are completely non-threatening, and despite the wit and charm, the script feels like a first draft.

So…it’s a deeply flawed movie that I enjoyed. Because the movie is so blatantly catering to the TWILIGHT crowd (to the point of casting actors who look like Edward and Bella) I would guess that most horror fans will hate it, but it’s worth checking out at matinee prices.

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