Bloody Money

[Warm Bodies]
Synopsis:Based on the book by Isaac Marion, follows an existentially tormented zombie who begins an unlikely friendship with the girlfriend of one of his victims -- and starts a chain reaction that will transform him and his fellow zombies.

Cast:Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Lizzy Caplan, Cory Hardrict, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco.

My Thoughts:Can you feel THE LOVE?

Review:"Warm Bodies", which is based off of a novel by the same name. Follows a planet (Earth, aka our Hood)...where the un-dead roam the land. A zombie apocalypse per-say. But these zombies are different. More on that in a minute. But the one that stands out is a teenage-boy-zombie named "R". Only because he doesn't remember his name. He is...a zombie after all. He also acts as a narrator to the film.

Describing the landscape, and what has occurred during the zombie apocalypse when it comes to interactions between humans and zombies. Which pretty much consists of the zombies attacking and eating people. And a group of military types, led by John Malkoviches character. Gunning down whatever un-dead they can. One day though, during a..."food run"..."R" attacks and eats the brain of a human boy named Perry (Franco). Who secretly crushes on a girl named Julie (Palmer).

"R" (Hoult), after feasting on Perry, soon realizes that he's also taken into himself, Perry's crush on Julie. This then starts a reaction within "R", where he develops strong feelings for Julie. Although the relationship is complicated, because well, she's...alive, and he's, ya know...un-dead. "R" cannot resist his attraction to Julie, and soon...begins acting as her protector and companion in this very dangerous world. "Warm Bodies" as a film is a very odd "make". It fails royally at what it's supposed to be good at. But succeeds and excels at what you expect it to be bad at.

On the subject of the zombies, these zombies are different because they can communicate with one another. Through grunts, nods, and other weird sounds. This is evident in a scene where "R" introduces us to his friend, "M" (Corddry). Who he shares a bond and some occasional "zombie chatter" with. But this is a zombie movie after all. You'd expect it to be good at blood, gore, graphic violence, etc.

But actually it isn't. This film has very few graphic scenes beyond two or three scenes where the zombies chomp away at some unsuspecting humans who don't see them coming. That's usually how most folks end up being bitten by the un-dead anyways. But, zombie movie or horror movie enthusiasts shouldn't see this film expecting Romero, or "Resident Evil", or anything of the sort. Instead...they should expect a pretty damn good story! Which strangely enough, this movie actually does tell! Yes! A horror movie with a "good" and "decent" story!
The first one this year! This movie takes the proverbial zombie cliches and expectants, and turns them upside down. All the while creating and building upon some new rules and twists. For example, apparently...the zombies can actually choose to save themselves! A bit of knowledge that "R" learns when he bites into Perry. The more "R" embraces his human side, and his feelings for Julie. The more his heart beats, and the more human he becomes. Literally shaking off his "zombie persona" like a football player would shake off rust after being sidelined for a long time. Other un-dead however, are not so lucky. As they have become so far gone into "zombiedom", that they become evil, fast, deadly sentinel-like creatures called "bonies".

These "bonies", are apparently the result of humans who've become zombies, and have given up their humanity in full. "R" has to protect Julie and himself from them. While Julie tries to protect "R" from father Grigio (Malkovich). This comes as a result of Julie and "R"s relationship becoming more intense as "R" becomes more human. This film can be a bit too mushy at times, which is one of my biggest complaints about it. I think it needed the romance scenes, or whatever you wanna call them to further the story. But at times, it gets a bit over-bearing.

The comedic moments manage to offset a little bit of that though. And the directing is pretty excellent and that also helps because sometimes you find yourself getting a bit lost in some of the better-put-together set pieces that the film has to offer. As for performances, Hoult as "R" definitely out-performs Palmer as Julie. Palmer was actually quite boring and robotic in the film. But I am not sure "horror" is her genre. The latest genre film she did was "The Grudge 2" years ago, and I hardly remember her in that movie. But I think her character died inside a phone booth if I'm not mistaken. Anyways, some of this films talent is misspent for time and story-arc reasons.

Actors such as Cory Hardrict and Analeigh Tipton hardly see any significant or memorable screen time. And to be honest, I preferred Tipton as the bubbly and likeable Nora, Julie's best friend in a zombie-infected world. To Palmer as Julie, who was quite boring and pun intended. Hardrict meanwhile would've been an intriguing twist if his character had been written as going a little bit rogue at times. Instead, he's more of a familiar face that pops up when the military folks led by Grigio, show up to do some shooting or secure an area.

Beyond those two actors being under-used, and a lackluster ending which needed a little more "bite"...again, no pun intended. I thought "Warm Bodies" for the most part hit the mark as a new kind of zombie movie beyond the usual chaos, gun battles, and blood splatter zombie movies we're used to seeing rehashed and done over and over again these days. I definitely think it's worth seeing at the multiplex if you're curious or looking for something fresh.

THE GOOD:The story is well-crafted and well written. Hoult gives a good performance as "R", and Corddry in his few scenes is cool and intriguing as well. Great directing and sceneries throughout the film, and the bonies made for interesting antagonists.

THE BAD:Palmer's performance was lackluster. She was out-performed by a walking stiff. Not good. Hardrict and Tipton's characters were underused. I also think there should've been more "bonies" attacks, but considering "R" was a zombie, any scenes too early with a lot of running would've ruined the films key plot point of "R" slowly, becoming more and more human. I also didn't get how Julie seems to get over Perry being killed so quickly. And then falls for the boy/zombie who ate him. Odd. But, no film is perfect I guess.

OVERALL:Three stars out of four.