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