WARM BODIES. Zombie romantic comedy horror

It would be a tragedy if “Warm Bodies” were made seriously and lacked any sense of distance.

Lukasz Budnik

29 January 2024

warm bodies

It’s surprising that none of the film marketing experts came up with the idea of putting a caption like “decayed response to Twilight” on the poster of “Warm Bodies”. Regardless, associations may arise on their own, whether we want them to or not. Since a romance based on a novel slaughtered the screen image of a vampire a few years ago, it was only a matter of time before the film industry tackled the reanimation of the living dead (with the support of the right book). Especially considering that zombies had been gaining popularity for some time. And that’s how we got a film in which the heart of a living corpse starts beating again when it falls in love at first sight with a still-warm (even hot) blonde. The funniest part is that the whole thing is not as horribly bad as it might seem from the above description.

It would be a tragedy if “Warm Bodies” were made seriously and lacked any sense of distance. Kudos to the creators for noticing that. On the other hand, the film doesn’t try to be a mocking parody or an overt farce. Instead (almost contrary to the plot’s starting point), it aims to be made with a sense of humor but as a relatively classic and normal story with a moral like “they are from two different worlds, everything is against them, but love cannot be defeated.”

warm bodies

Okay, but if it’s supposed to be so classic, why are all these zombies wandering around the set? Well, according to the rules of the best representatives of the genre filled with animated, shuffling corpses, zombies are not just a threat to the still-breathing heroes. Zombies are a social satire here. The main character, R, is also the film’s narrator. On screen, we see him wandering around an airport overrun by the living dead, aimlessly meandering, murmuring quietly at the sight of other rotten ones, and… thinking. It turns out that the main character has a very rich inner life (completely breaking with the standard way of portraying zombies). He likes listening to music, collecting souvenirs from places he visited, and contemplating how the world looked before the epidemic when strangers could just stop for a moment and talk to someone nearby. R observes: it was definitely better, not like now when I’m surrounded by a mass of nameless, mindless automatons interested in nothing but satisfying their basic needs. And in this chaos, only I still think and see what’s happening. Wait a moment… this sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

The problem arises when the film doesn’t stop at satirical observation, trying to find a remedy for all this cynical stagnation. And the remedy is disarmingly simple and naively charming: love. Seriously. It’s literally shown in the film – love fixes all the world’s problems and makes everything better. In the final scenes, there’s so much sweetness that only a cherry on top of the cake is missing. Fortunately, a bit of humor and a clear emphasis on the fact that, besides love, sometimes firearms come in handy, save the situation.

The third act of the film also falls short when the obligatory and standard motif of a common enemy appears, uniting better than several weeks of deliberations and negotiations. This subplot is written and filmed without imagination, entirely pretextually, and because it had to be in the film. Simply put – otherwise, the screenwriter would have had to work a bit.

However, praise is due to Nicholas Hoult, who takes on the main role. I mentioned earlier that the living dead are portrayed here in a different way than usual, but this change didn’t trigger an allergic reaction in me. This is primarily thanks to the young actor, whom I simply buy into this role. Especially cool is the comparison between his voice, used to narrate off-screen, and the one heard during regular dialogues. The former is decisive, fluent, and gives the impression of being sharp. The latter is forced and sluggish, unused for many years.

In the end, it turned out to be a pretty good film that could have been significantly better if it hadn’t turned into a Disney-like fairy tale at a certain point. And that’s more in the less flattering sense of the word.

Łukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

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