Warm Bodies is the heartwarming love story between a young zombie and the girl who’s boyfriend he has just murdered. Years ago, when True Blood and Twilight made supernatural teenage romance a thing, we all laughed at the idea that some idiot would try and make one where a mummy and a zombie fight over a girl. Well, they’re halfway there (no mummies), and it was actually really good. The people involved with this knew just how dumb the idea of a zombie romance is, and with everyone in on the joke nobody can help but have a good time.
At its very best, Warm Bodies is a clever twist on the tired zombie flick. It keeps the post-apocalyptic world interesting, and twists the classic zombie enough for the protagonist to stay relatable. The core of the zombie film is man against himself, the zombies playing the dual role of effigy for man’s struggle with loss of identity in the modern world, and the judge, jury and executioner for his hubris. Warm Bodies is keenly aware of this, and juggles the deeper themes of the zombie genre with an honest to goodness romantic comedy. This isn’t Casablanca, but it never tried to be, and what it did it did way better than anyone would have expected.
At its very worst, Warm Bodies is the latest moist discharge into Hollywood’s regurgitation feeding trough. The roulette wheel for supernatural teen romance somehow passed over chupacabras and wendigo and landed on zombies, guaranteeing that not only would this soulless cashgrab piggybacking on the insipid success of Twilight be made, but that its core romance between a teen girl and a rotting, ambulatory corpse would be the least believable fiction since Scientology. So painfully unbelievable, by the third act you’ll be bored.
The truth is somewhere in between. Let’s go deeper: