Genre-busters are a tough task to pull off. The mixing of film genres whether it be horror, comedy or action can be a high-risk, high-reward situation. For every Ghostbusters there is a Hudson Hawk. Most of the time people will either love or hate these hybrid movies. There is no grey when it comes to the genre-buster. This week we see a mash-up of the zombie culture that’s running rampant in America with an old fashion Shakespearean love story in Warm Bodies.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is a lonely, wandering zombie that is looking for a some kind of connection in a lifeless world. R wanders around carrying on an inner dialogue in his dead head as if he was Ferris Bueller. That is until he’s involved in an incident with a survivor named Julie (Teresa Palmer). Hey Shakespeare fans — do you get where the story is going with names like R and Julie? R and Julie slowly form a bond that makes R feel alive both mentally and physically. That’s right people, apparently love cures the zombie apocalypse.
When Warm Bodies started I was totally digging the inner monologue of R and the satirical take he had in the desolate world he called his home. I was all in on the blend of dry humor and the zombie action. Then our damsel in distress shows up and the movie changes. For a brief moment it looked as if Warm Bodies was going to mirror a zombie infected John Hughes teen movie from the 80s. Unfortunately the love story kicks in and the film gets complacent with plot convenience and PG-13 cheese.
As I stated in the beginning of the review, genre-busters are a hard sell. The fusion of film types isn’t always accepted by the audience. I commend the filmmakers on the attempt to make a zombie/satire/love story. It’s a brave move, but in the end it didn’t work for me. Maybe Warm Bodies should have stuck to just blending two genres like Zombieland did with horror and comedy instead of combining three.
The saving grace of Warm Bodies was the performance of Nicholas Hoult as R the zombie. Hoult breathes life into the infected R and carries the movie on his slouching dead shoulders. Too bad R had to end up falling in love with Julie. The movie may have been better if he would have just eaten her at first sight. Warm Bodies may be a miss for Hoult, but I expect some hits in his future. Overall I give Warm Bodies two potatoes out of four.