This post-apocalyptic zombie romance takes the "girl falls for guy from the wrong side of the tracks" premise to extreme lengths. With cues from Romeo and Juliet - even a balcony scene is included - Warm Bodies is more a story of blossoming romance between a human and zombie than an outright horror and blood fest.
Director Jonathan Levine puts his spin on the zombie genre by slowing things down, adding plenty of dry wit to a screenplay he adapted from the novel by Isaac Marion, and delivering in a deadpan style (no pun intended). He even manages to add a sweet, nostalgic tone to what becomes almost a zombie rom-com.
It's not clear how exactly the world has been destroyed, cities abandoned and humans turned into grunting, gormless zombies. Although our zombie hero R (Hoult, pictured) doesn't know how he become a zombie we discover through his narration that a plague-like disease is responsible for turning humans into either "corpses" or a more advanced form of zombie known as "bones", and that a small group of surviving humans are holed up in a walled part of the city.
On a human-hunting mission into town R comes across a gorgeous young human called Julie (Palmer). Instead of attacking Julie his instinct is to keep her safe so, after eating her boyfriend's brain, he takes her home to his abandoned jumbo jet and they begin to get to know each other. The jet is in the middle of zombie land so it's a rather awkward, nervous first date.
The plague is pitched as a dose of karma for a society spending too much time on smart phones and not enough communicating with and looking after each other. What R and Julie discover is that the cure is what had been missing from people's lives: human contact and love.
Warm Bodies is not as passionate, or memorable, as other love stories we've seen between a mortal and immortal recently, but this simple premise based on the power of love does the unexpected: it allows us to introduce the words cute and heartwarming into the zombie genre.
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich
Director: Jonathan Levine
Running time: 98 mins
Verdict: A sweet and witty zombie rom-com