Warm Bodies (2013)

warm_bodies_ver8In the universe of “Warm Bodies,” zombification is a metaphor for social inadequacy. Being a zombie makes it impossible for you to talk and socialize with anyone. The rare conversations a zombie does have, is nothing but grunts and a brief dismissal of the company kept. The really bad introverts are terribly animated skeletons with a thing for self-mutilation. This is kind of a PSA for social introverts but with monsters that you can call zombies. I guess they’re zombies. They’re undead, and they eat humans for sustenance. But I just have a hard time trying to figure out which audience “Warm Bodies” is trying to pander to, if anything. It’s definitely a movie for teenagers. The movie doesn’t so much make zombification a disease, as it is a deadly form of social anxiety.

The main character R in the film is a zombie who has an obvious social deficiency, and is brought out of his shell thanks to a hot girl. She forms him from a lump of nothing in to a man again. Zombies in this film can occasionally speak if they try hard enough, they think to themselves, and they have a love for classic rock music. I imagine when the world was taken over by zombies the power went out, so I’m kind of confused as to how the main zombie R is able to play his classic rock music. And I’m not entirely sure what the brain plot device is supposed to accomplish if anything. R kills a young survivor and eats his brain and while absorbing his brains, he forms a love his widowed girlfriend. She’s able to get over the fact that he ate her boyfriend’s cranium because R is like so totally dreamy and blue eyed, plus he’s not like every zombie. He’s sensitive, and has potential to be boyfriend material.

R forms a conscious and gradually decides that with every victim he eats, someone inevitably suffers a loss. A zombie with a crisis of conscious is something, and never amounts to entertainment in “Warm Bodies.” It’s a film that so blatantly panders to a niche audience of young girls and preteen boys, that it fails to be comedy, romance, or hell, even horror. Hey, why do adults always have to have the zombie movies? Why don’t we create a zombie movie for the high school fraction of the audience? Why not let them know that if they don’t open up and make friends, they might become the zombies in this film? “Warm Bodies” has interesting ideas on occasion, but it’s all lost in a haze of stock plot devices, broad characters, and a terribly underwhelming tale about the end of the world.

The zombies can’t be too frightening lest the message fail to hit the audience, thus most of them look like pale shut ins that haven’t actually washed their clothing in a while. The hunter zombies eat any humans they can find by sniffing the air. I wonder: If the zombies can detect their prey by smell, why is heroine Julie able to sneak right by them so easily? “Warm Bodies” is really just a large extension of the sub-plot from “Day of the Dead” but immensely tailored for the “Degrassi” crowds. Instead of a decaying soldier, we have handsome Nicholas Hoult, and instead of acting like a dog, he’s actually similar to a guy who has a hard time talking to girls. He can barely look Julie in the eyes, he grunts every now and then, and Julie really only needs him for so long and eventually builds affection for him.

Will R ever get over his obstacle of being a corpse and ask Julie on a date? Will she bring up his brain breath during their first make out session? What drama! It presumes to be clever by featuring a small scene where Julie holds up a picture of the swamp zombie from “Zombi” next to R’s face jokingly, but the audience tuning in won’t really understand the reference. That’s what people behind “Warm Bodies” bank on. As a story it’s a straight forward immensely watered down rip off of “Day of the Dead,” and as a zombie picture it’s about as generic as can be. I never cared for a single character in this film, and I never really cared what would happen between the star crossed lovers R and Julie. I imagine if Taylor Swift made horror movies, “Warm Bodies” would be one of her creations.