Director Jonathan Levine follows up his severely underrated 50/50 with another film that combines earnestness, sincerity and love within less-than-ideal settings. Levine also adapted the screenplay from the popular Isaac Marion novel which rallied around a simple premise - a zombie in love. The zombie in question is R (Nicholas Hoult), a conflicted member of the walking dead who meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) and saves her from other zombies after she and her group of friends is attacked. What follows is an unconventional (but heartfelt) love story in which R and Julie develop a relationship, and that relationship allows R to come back to life. Warm Bodies borrows from the classic Romeo & Juliet, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and (500) Days of Summer then combines elements from these films, like love against all odds, hope, inspiration and (in a strange way) ethnic tolerance, to produce something that feels fresh and original.
Like Zombieland, the common zombie tropes are turned on its head, adding to it the notion that zombies can feel. Thanks to narration by R, the audience is able to understand things from a zombie's perspective, a unique plot device that works swimmingly and helps to ease in the feelings the dead (not just R) are slowly developing. Because of that, the easily laughable love story that ensues becomes viable, and even believable. And in this case that's integral to sell the film.
To be honest, Warm Bodies is a nearly flawless film. Levine has honed his direction since 2008's The Wackness and is able to sell a funny and romantic story within an apocalyptic setting. Add to it a strong soundtrack and decent acting, and the result is the perfect feature to celebrate Valentine's Day... braaaaaaaaiiiiiins, er, looooooooovvvveee. JV