After vampires and wherewolves let us hail the return of the zombies (whether they appear in “The Walking Dead,” “Warm Bodies,” “28 days and weeks later,” “Zombieland,” or, very soon, “World War Z,” zombies are pleasing to audiences–they’re attention-grabbers and soon they’ll probably control everything).
The Jonathan Levine-directed (PROFILE) “Warm Bodies” expounds on the living-dead narrative, but does so through the prism of rom-com meets horror film. A kind of “Twilight” minus the soppiness and the delusions, “Warm Bodies” is unfortunately not the all-out subversive and irreverent movie that I had expected. Based upon a heavily genre-formatted screenplay, “Bodies” stammers from one unoriginal scene to another and exploits its premise to the max: “Zombie falls in love with human.” And in spite of a clear effort in creative design, an overall visually arresting movie and a committed–no doubt–lead actor (Nicholas Hoult), not enough happens in “Bodies” to elicit any kind of lasting interest.
By seeking the same audience who got out of bed to go watch the “Twilight” franchise “Bodies” has turned out to be a facsimile without the ability to go beyond the genre’s tropes, poke fun at it, or stimulate the brain cells. A concept, however good or original it may be, doth not a good film make–audiences are not asses.
“Warm Bodies” is yet another example that Hollywood has lost some serious steam lately. That dream factory is starting to look more and more like the Titanic.
Jonathan Levine, PROFILE