I was rather fearing Twilight with zombies when I first heard about this movie. Fortunately, that's not the case. Sure, it's a love story of sorts but with a decidedly black comic touch as well.
We join the action after the zombie apocalypse has wiped out a big proportion of the population (so far, so-so). "R" (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie with a difference - strangely introspective, with a conscience about his brain-eating proclivities and a penchant for collecting vinyl (look out for a subtle visual gag involving a Doors LP). He is also unable to remember his name, and can only remember it started with an "R", hence his shortened moniker.. In voiceover he tries to make some kind of sense of his new existence, and after a day's shuffling around an abandoned airport he heads back to his makeshift home on a disused passenger jet.
Things take an interesting turn when a party of humans on a scavenger raid for medicines find themselves under attack from the zombie hordes. It is during the ensuing melee that R finds himself wanting not to eat the brains of Julie (Teresa Palmer) but to rescue her instead. This sparks off a change in R, as he seems to start regaining his humanity. Slowly it has a knock on effect on his fellow Zombies, but not on the more decayed "Boneys", who have devolved past all help.
The unlikely love story that develops has obvious parallels with Romeo & Juliet (Julie's father, played by John Malkovich, is the leader of the human encampment and a sworn zombie destroyer), but director Jonathan Levine doesn't overdo the references.
In an age when everybody and their auntie seems to be knocking out a zombie flick, Warm Bodies does bring something genuinely original to the table. It's not perfect - perhaps a little overlong, and perhaps too nice in places for those who like more cynicism in their zombie apocalypses, but then arguably that's also what helps to make it different from the pack. Well worth a look for horror fans, and the ideal choice if your other half insists on a rom-com - it just about qualifies in that department too.
Special mention for Rob Corddry, who provides excellent support as R's zombie friend M.
Purple Rating 7/10
US 2013 - Summit Entertainment
Certificate 15 (UK)
DVD/BluRay from Entertainment One (UK)