Zombies and romance: an unlikely but worthy combination

To be honest, when I first saw the preview for Warm Bodies, a movie based on the Isaac Marion novel of the same name, I thought, “Oh great, another Twilight-esque supernatural romance to gag over.” But this zombie-human adventure turned out to be a fun ride!

Photo courtesy of schoolrack.com

It managed to cover four or five movie genres without the plot feeling all over the place, and despite the subject matter being kind of disturbing (zombies feasting on their prey will never be glamorous), Warm Bodies strays toward comical and light-hearted for a good chunk of the story, making it watchable for horror-movie haters like me.

Here’s a quick synopsis. A zombie apocalypse has wiped out a majority of the human population, leaving hoards and hoards of hungry zombies wandering around earth. What used to be a vibrant city now looks like an abandoned war zone.

A young zombie named R lives in a run-down jetliner, part of a community of zombies that occupies a former airport. On a quest for food, R comes across Julie, a human tasked with collecting supplies for her starving city. Instead of killing her, R takes her back to his home to keep her safe from the other zombies. Needless to say, he develops feelings for Julie that he didn’t even know could exist in his undead body.

The acting is stellar amongst the leads and supporting cast, especially Nicholas Hoult as our hero R. Hoult began his acting career at a very young age, most notably as Hugh Grant’s sidekick in About a Boy and as Hank McCoy in X-Men: First Class. His portrayal of the zombie who we all come to care for is brilliantly understated, a big feat considering how long he had to act dead.

His love interest Julie, played by relative newcomer Teresa Palmer, also doesn’t venture into the cliché, which these supernatural tales tend to do. Palmer looks like a mix between Hayden Panettiere and Kristen Stewart, but in my opinion is a better actor than both. Julie doesn’t want to see the good in R, but she can’t look past that glimpse of humanity he begins to show throughout the film.

There’s plenty of action too for guys looking for less romance and more zombie killers. It was almost too graphic for me at times, with zombies ripping off their own skin and devouring human brains. But the underlying message of love and the importance of connecting and building meaningful relationships could make even the darkest heart skip a beat.