Film review: ‘Warm Bodies’ brings life to zombie and romance genres
Published: February 5, 2013 10:06AM
Updated: January 31, 2013 04:59PM
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This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows Nicholas Hoult, left, and Teresa Palmer in a scene from "Warm Bodies." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Jonathan Wenk)

It’s a toss-up which genre more needs the adrenaline boost “Warm Bodies” provides: the zombie movie or the romantic comedy.

This hybrid follows R (Nicholas Hoult), an undead young man who still maintains some vague memories of life before the zombie infestation that’s turned most of America into slow-moving undead. The zombies are split between “corpses” like R and his pal M (Rob Corddry), who try to hold on to a semblance of humanity, and “skeletons” (aka “bonies”) who are just ruthless flesh-eating monsters.

When R encounters the pretty and feisty Julie (Teresa Palmer), whose father (John Malkovich) commands the last human outpost, R has his first stirrings of human emotion — while also eating the brains of Julie’s boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco), thus reliving Perry’s memories and feelings. Soon, R’s crush on Julie starts to affect the other zombies, signaling a change that could bring peace to the raging human-zombie war.

Director-screenwriter Jonathan Levine (“50/50”), adapting Isaac Marion’s novel, plays with zombie-movie conventions (using R’s funny and observational voice-over) and steals some moves from Shakespeare to create a teen romance no more awkward than most.

Hoult (“X-Men: First Class”) and Palmer (who’s like Kristen Stewart, except blond and capable of smiling) have a chemistry that brings this zombie story to life.

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‘Warm Bodies’

Opens today at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language; 97 minutes.