“Warm Bodies” is about a zombie who wants more out of life than just braaaaiiiinnns. He’s shuffling about slowly groping for love. And while the idea of a zombie love story is inherently silly, it’s just entertaining enough to be fun- for a while anyway.
“Warm Bodies” exists in our post-Twilight universe but thankfully its less of a Twilight ripoff and more like a hipster indie romantic comedy with a zombie twist. Imagine if it starred the characters from 500 Days of Summer, only Joseph Gordon Levitt was a zombie. Nicholas Hoult (all grown up from his “About A Boy” days) stars as a hoodie clad member of the undead named “R.” He’s a zombie, but he hasn’t lost his sense of taste, angst or his sense of humor. He has an extensive record collection (on vinyl no less) picks up quirky trinkets on his shuffles around the city, and longs for some kind of connection. The closest thing to a friend he has is a fellow zombie (Rob Corddry) at the airport bar. They exchange knowing grunts and looks like old buddies who don’t need words to communicate.
The zombies spend most of their days shuffling around an airport, but every now and then they must venture into the city looking for food. The few remaining humans spend their days in a walled bunker run by military man John Malkovich. A scouting patrol (including Malkovich’s daughter) ventures out beyond the wall to pick up needed supplies and that’s where they encounter our hoodie clad friend.
It’s the same old story. Zombie boy meets girl. Zombie boy eats girls ex-boyfriend. Zombie boy falls in love with girl. Girl begins to fall in love with zombie boy. He’s apparently just mostly dead, not all dead. He saves her from the attack and brings her home to his abandoned airplane. His courtship starts with grunts and creepy stares (voiceover narration helps clue us in to what the zombie is thinking) but he slowly starts to form words and express feelings again. And like the virus that so quickly turned them into flesh eating fashion victims, love spreads just as quickly to wound the wounded hearts of other zombies and blaze a path back to humanity.
Even just typing these plot points makes it seem really stupid, and it is really stupid. If you give a seconds thought it doesn’t really hold up very well and there are plot holes you could fit a shopping mall full of zombies through. But the film’s sense of humor and its point of view about the world it has created is surprisingly entertaining- until it devolves into a fairly standard action plot at the end and the inconsistencies become too hard to ignore. It’s something of a lark that this worked at all and I don’t think I’d be excited for a “Warm Bodies 2.” But it was surprisingly refreshing to see a zombie learn to love- once.