Warm Bodies steals hearts, then eats them


You know what’s charming?

The type of guy who kills your boyfriend, kidnaps you, and then refuses to let you go home even though he has no idea what to do to keep you entertained.

Obviously, the intelligent thing to do in a situation where you’re being detained by a lunatic is to fall in love with him—

Oh, wait, that’s called Stockholm syndrome.

But it’s also the plot of feel-good romantic comedy Warm Bodies.

Except in Warm Bodies, this is all okay because the kidnapper is R (Nicholas Hoult), a rather attractive walking corpse just waiting for someone of a similar age with budding tendencies toward necrophilia. He finds this delightful life partner in Julie (Teresa Palmer), a teenager he falls in love with at first sight. Actually, that’s not quite correct. He falls in love with her after he eats her boyfriend’s brains and takes said boyfriend’s memories.

Just to clarify, I’m not spoiling anything. This all happens in the first two scenes of the movie. And yes, you are expected to love R and want him to be happy, in spite of this.

Since R is an inarticulate corpse at the beginning of the movie, his narration is entirely internalized. He even apologizes in a desultory way as he bashes Julie’s boyfriend’s brains out and then eats them. Periodically. Through the rest of the movie. In an attempt to get information to try and impress Julie. As in, he saves the guy’s brains for later and pops them like Lay’s chips.

Mull that one over.

Now, this isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie. I did enjoy it. I liked R, a lot. I give Nicholas Hoult massive credit for pulling off such a difficult character. He really humanized (get it?) R, and made the human-hungry zombie a likeable individual. I just thought that the movie sent several really wrong messages.

*Note: Everything that follows includes some kind of spoiler. Read at your own discretion.

To enumerate:

  1. In the movie, the good guys are human; the bad guys are walking corpses; the really really bad guys are decomposed walking corpses (called Bonies). The good guys and bad guys eventually team up against the really really bad guys. This leads us to ask, “if the bad guys were redeemable, then why weren’t the really really bad guys redeemable? Isn’t the message that everyone can be saved? Well, they’re not saving the Bonies. Therefore, there still needs to be some kind of common enemy to unite any two groups.”
  2. Throughout the movie, R wears a blood- and weather-stained red hoodie that really brings out the bluish-black tinge of his cold dead limbs. At the end of the movie, he wears Abercrombie and Fitch and watches the sunset with Julie, leading us to ponder whether he could’ve gotten the girl earlier if he’d just put on the plaid at the beginning.
  3. It’s okay to kiss your boyfriend’s killer. It’s not like he’s a zombie who ate your boyfriend—Oh, it is like that? Well, it’s okay; he probably brushed his teeth at some—Oh, he didn’t?

Despite these moral objections, the movie was well done (though not humorous, as it’s being marketed). I personally couldn’t get over the minor hiccup of the boyfriend, but I’d recommend seeing it anyway.