With its global distribution earlier this year, Warm Bodies seemed to be just another one of Hollywood’s pumped out blockbusters, and I myself skipped it at the cinemas due to this exact reason – “it was just another cliché teenage zombie film, nothing out of the ordinary” and in most places it was. However, what I enjoyed most about this modern take on an “end of the world” narrative is that it rejected the norm for the most part and found itself changing the ending to a zombies ‘life’ by flipping the bird to death.
After the apocalypse many of the zombies that took over a city are shown to congregate mostly at a nearby airport where they spend their days wandering around aimlessly, much like the typical lifeless un-dead…but then we meet, R, (Nicholas Hoult) a zombie with a conscious mind that is almost intact. R finds himself trying to remember what it felt like to be alive and to try and figure out who he was before he turned. Warm Bodies ends up being a story through a zombie’s perspective – a seemingly different and refreshing angle than most apocalyptic storylines.
We’re introduced to Julie (Teresa Palmer) who finds herself trapped and surrounded by zombies whilst on the hunt for survival gear with the rest of her team. R, stops eating part of a brain and realises Julie’s beauty, and feels an incredible rush of ‘aliveness’. He then makes it his priority (the best he can; being a zombie, covered in blood and looking dead) to show Julie he will protect her and that she should follow him to avoid being eaten, without any other alternative Julie agrees.
Their relationship strengthens as the scenes unfold. Julie attempts to escape multiple times but is always rescued by R. Because of this she leans into the idea that this strange, confusing zombie is different from the others she has encountered, and begins to feel safe around him. On the flip side, R becomes increasingly more aware of his feelings and can feel the infection beginning to leave his body. This realisation also affects the other zombies at the airport and unfortunately puts them all in grave danger as zombies are not the only dangerous predator that have risen from the dead. In an effort to show humankind that they are beginning to get better, the zombies join teams with the humans in their ultimate fight for survival.
Towards the end of Warm Bodies the audience can somewhat guess how the final few scenes will play out, as the Hollywood undertone kicks in. Nevertheless, you are not left feeling let down or that the film has led you to an anticlimactic ending. What you feel is actually a little more optimism about what could happen if the world was to someday become what today’s sources of entertainment seem to be preparing the world for; a zombie apocalyptic future. Teaching zombies to love and to feel alive again may just save us all!