Warm Bodies (2013)
Director(s): Jonathan Levine
Writer(s): Isaac Marion, Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Rob Corddry
During my teen years, between he all the blood and jump-scares from my macabre flicks, I got really into the nervous yet swanky charm that oozed from Hugh Grant. With hits like Notting Hill, Two Weeks Notice and one of my personal favorites, Bridget Jones’s Diary, I couldn’t help but like the acting style of someone who could pull off being a harmless goof that pines for love or a selfish bastard that may have a heart somewhere between the layers of Asshole-lery.
The Hugh Grant movie however that stuck a chord with me as I made my transition between High School weirdo to College…uhhh..weirdo, was About a Boy and surprisingly, it’s not even the GRANT (yeah, let’s call him that from now on), that stole the show but the titular, interesting boy played by Nicholas Hoult. The flick was easy enough to follow where the Grant played a cynical middle-aged bloke living off his one hit wonder when he meets a kid who ends up changing his life for the better. The kid was a total loser by all accounts but somehow had the kind of false confidence that was derived from wanting to please his mother so in a way, his love for his mom was keeping him from growing as a person. It was a very complex yet enjoyable character and it was fun to see both actors take on the growth of their characters in awkward and hilarious ways.
Since then, Nicholas Hoult has had quite a career from being an X-man to riding along with Mad Max. However, my ears always perk up when news of him dipping his toes into the horror world comes up since he’s been in some BANGERS (did I use that right?)! One of his most fun performances in his career (so far) has been the surprisingly heartfelt horror-romance-comedy flick, Warm Bodies. It came at a time where zombies were at an all time high with Walking Dead ruling the screens (remember when we all loved that show?), and people couldn’t get enough of decomposing humans eating other humans for sustenance. At first glance, I get it; the movie seems like a cash grab for something that was popular at one moment in time but the charm of the movie really lies with Nicholas Hoult.
He has this way of speaking, at least monologuing throughout the movie since zombies you know, can’t chat too much; that makes you root for his slacker twenty-something zombie that’s just trying to make his way in this new world, run by his kind. The movie has an interesting take about showing you how the world works from the zombie’s point of view so by the time you meet the group of humans that would eventually clash with the zombies, you pretty much get where both parties are coming from which is a solid approach. It wouldn’t be much of a horror-ROMANTIC-comedy if there wasn’t a girl so of course, he ends up falling hard for a gal that was part of a human-zombie scuffle. The flick has a nice twist on why zombies like eating brains (won’t spoil it here) and it actually makes you think back to all the zombie flicks you’ve ever seen and wonder if it would fit into the narrative. There is a reason why his crush on the girl has a huge impact to his being and without getting too corny, let’s just say the power of love is something that would change the landscape of movie’s dreary world so the movie spends a good amount of time exploring how these feelings are cultivated. There are the usual zombie situational scares and suspense when trying to evade large groups of the undead smelling your very-alive body, but the core of it always fell back to a couple of people who are slowly but surely getting to know each other.
One of the biggest draws when I first saw this flick was how impressive the soundtrack was because yes, I get it, all movies have that cool throwback soundtrack now full of pop/rock hits that drive the movie (thanks James Gunn) but seriously, the soundtrack of this flick was just bitchin’ with our main zombie having quite the collection of records that actually play a significant role in the cultivation of the relationship between him and his crush. The two actually share some sincere and sweet moments that actually tricks you into forgetting there was a horror element to this movie, right up until a well-timed jump scare or bloody scene sucks you right back into the world of dark hearts.
There are plenty of laughs with a very solid supporting cast of characters supporting the budding couple and of course, this wouldn’t be much of a zombie flick if there WASN’T a military dick-wad who is hell bent on destruction instead of strategy but their role was also enjoyable from a story stand point where you can again, see where they’re coming from which I suppose the whole point of this flick; figuring out different points of view for growth.
I’ll definitely continue to support Nicholas Hoult in all his future ventures and I’ll never say no to a solid horror flick that continues to push what the horror genre can do and where it can go. KUDOS zombie love story, KUDOS.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.