Romy Shiller

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Warm Bodies

In Film, review on July 20, 2013 at 9:03 am


PLOT SYNOPSIS:  With much of the world’s population now an undead horde, R is a young and oddly introspective zombie. While fighting with and feeding on a human scavenger party, R meets Julie and feels an urge to protect her. What happens next is the beginning of a strangely warm relationship that allows R to begin regaining his humanity. As this change spreads through the local undead population like a virus, Julie and R eventually have to face a larger issue when the very nature of their friendship is challenged. Caught between the paranoid human forces and the ferocious “Bonies”, zombies who are a mutual threat, R and Julie must find a way to bridge the differences of each side to fight for a better world no one thought possible.

Well, this is different. A rom-com and zombie tale with a twist. The pop-culture specialist in me is very happy to have insight into the feelings of a particular zombie.

R cannot remember his name but says that it starts with “R:”

Julie: R, Do you remember your name yet?

R: No.

Julie: Well, you know, you could just give yourself one. Just pick one. Whatever you want.

R: I like R.

Julie: Really? You don’t want to know what it was? You don’t want your old life back?

R: No. I want this one.

Julie: Just R, huh?

R: Just R.

R is an introspective zombie and has a voice-over, which usually comments on the zombie status he now inhabits. Critic Christopher Orr says “Though R’s mind is nimble in (very witty) voiceover, out loud he can only express himself in a series of groans and grumbles–as touching a metaphor for love-struck adolescence as we may see at the movies this year.”

R says that it’s strange to meet a girl by eating her boyfriend’s brain. Ha! He cannot remember his old life but wears a ‘hoodie’ so he presumes he was unemployed. Ha!


R: Say something human, say something human, say something human. How are you? Nailed it.



This film plays with the Romeo and Juliet idea – the lead characters names are R and Julie. It is a little over ambitious on this count. This is an extremely simple tale and any resemblance to Shakespeare goes out the window but the theme of a taboo love certainly makes its mark. Critic Yasmin Vought says, “If you love the un-dead humour of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, but want an Edward Scissorhands-meets-Romeo and Juliet style romance on the side – then this is the film for you. 

Rotten Tomatoes says this about the romance: A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world.

Instead of eating her, R protects Julie from the other zombies. His teaching her how to walk slowly and to grunt like a zombie is hysterical. He smears brains on her face so that she will smell like a zombie. Gross but endearing.

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John Malkovich is in this film, which gives it a credible and unique standing. He plays Julie’s threatening father – he is likely to kill R, is militant and very anti-zombie. As usual, he is superb.

The zombies are curing themselves by virtue of R and Julie’s feelings for one another. The answer to zombie-fate is seemingly human interaction and not a pill or a drug.

A zombie with a heart is nostalgic for me. In the TV series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ Buffy’s boyfriend was a vampire with a soul. I guess that a progression from vampire to zombie makes pop-culture sense. This film is nowhere near as brilliant as ‘Buffy’ but it’s worth a look-see.