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Film review: 'Warm Bodies' brings life to zombie and romance genres

Published February 5, 2013 10:06 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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 Friday, Feb. 1, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language; 97 minutes.