Sunday, 23 June 2013

No.193 : Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies at the IMDb

Bloody zombie films - there’s none for five minutes and then another twenty appear on the horizon. They multiply like, well, zombies. The trouble with this crowded genre is that you have to position your zombie film so that it sits apart from all the rest of the zombie films and that means you have to spend time explaining your rules and zombie conditions.

‘Warm Bodies’ predictably has the world overrun by zombies but these are special zombies - they have an inner monologue! We meet up with a Zombie Nicholas Hoult (him off ‘About a Boy’) as he talks us through his day of shambling around an airport with  the rest of his horde. He laments the loss of his humanity but does have a friend in the shape of  Rob Corddry who memorably had bum wiping issues in a ‘Harold and Kumar’ film.

We also learn that our zombies are nice zombies and that there are nasty zombies out there called ‘Bonies’, who have shed all traces of humanity and become CGI instead. Meanwhile a human settlement is planning a supply run with leader John Malkovich reluctant to send his daughter Teresa Palmer along - good call John, she got into bother in recent ‘W’ outing ‘Wish You Were Here’. Of course she goes along and her group encounters that of our zombies who quickly rip the humans to bits - apart from Teresa to whom Nicholas takes a shine.

Strangely she plays along and soon the pair are holed up in an old plane and getting to know each other through records and pop culture. Initially Teresa, who is called ‘Julie’, is just playing along with our zombie who gives his name as ‘Rrrrrr’ - Romeo and Juliet - geddit? - but soon she sees some spark of humanity in his zombified face.

The two soon have a rare old time driving cars and learning to talk, but their friendship hasn’t escaped the attention of the Bonies who, quite correctly, feel humans are there to be eaten, not socialised with. The pair are eventually split up and Julie returns to the compound but, not to be denied, Rrrrrr rounds up his pals and heads to the human camp - with the Bonies in hot pursuit. Will true love prevail and may this signal an end to human/zombie hostilities?

This was an enjoyable film but it wasn’t distinctive enough to set it apart from the rest of this cluttered genre. Fair enough it has some original ideas such as the slow journey back to humanity and the Bonies but for the most part the clich├ęs were clear and present. Some of the gags such as the driving sequence and Julie overacting as she pretended to be a zombie offered small smiles but nothing more. Given they were going for the romantic angle the kills were toned down with only the Bonies offering any real menace.

In its favour it was a good looking production with a strong cast. I’m just not sure I want my zombies rehabilitated however, and soon as the die was cast I knew where the film was ending up. The film had a lot to like, but like its zombies it was barely showing a pulse in many places and exhibited more than a little decay around the script and plot.

Best Bit  : Bonies showdown.   W Rating 15/23