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Warm Bodies: Horror, Humor and Hope
Rethink Everything You Know About Zombies
Forget everything that you think you know about zombies. With the zombie apocalypse looming around every corner, real-life zombies eating human flesh in Miami and zombies making the round of major TV networks world-wide, the genre was due for a change - and they achieved that change in spades with the new movie Warm Bodies. The movie is moving, funny and uplifting and it completely changes the way the viewers see zombies.
Far from the zombie world of popular show "The Walking Dead" on AMC, Warm Bodies gives viewers the chance to see the genre from a previously unexplored point of view. While it's impossible to portray zombies without a sense of the gore that one would typically expect, seeing a film from the Zombie's point of view itself is a breath of (decomposing) air that livens the genre and gives it a new creative outlet not previously seen. Not only are the characters in the film moving and inspiring, the spirit of the film itself combines with the overreaching message behind it - sometimes the most terrifying things are also the most frequently misunderstood - and taking things at face-value leaves no room for personal growth.
In the Warm Bodies reality, the zombie virus has taken over world-wide. Only a small handful of human beings remain. Led by John Malkovich, the humans are intent only on survival - and they'll do almost anything it takes to make survival their top priority.
Shot from R's point of view, this film gives zombies a saving grace - and they allow you to view the entire genre differently. From the very beginning, R's self-deprecating humor and narration commentary draw viewers into the world in such a manner that it's almost impossible to not relate to him. He has no problem criticizing himself and other "corpses" (as the zombies are referred to by the human survivors). He mocks himself outright - and he has a fondness for vinyl records - and 80's music.
Like all other zombies, the corpses of Warm Bodies require human brains to survive. When they get hungry, they leave their place of residence (in this case an abandoned airport) and venture out into the world at large - towards the wall, behind which the surviving humans live. The zombies attack a group of adolescents out on a mission to recover much-needed medical supplies - and this is where R meets Julie - conveniently after killing and eating her boyfriend. R feels a strange connection to Julie - and he saves her from the other zombies in the group, bringing her back to the airport and his abandoned airplane home. The two form an unlikely bond as R repeatedly saves her from his hungry fellow-kind and she gradually begins to trust him. Julie is from a different world, however, and the two of them know that she ultimately has to return to the place she calls home - and her father (John Malkovich).
While the communication between different zombies in this flick is sparse at best, it is touching when it occurs. Watching the complete transformation of characters is beautiful and it is beautifully carried out. It's almost impossible to not relate to multiple characters, and all of the positive aspects of the film outweigh any preconceived notions you may have carried into the theater with you. This movie will change my mental perception of zombies - forever. No matter what death, devastation and horror they typically bring to the stage, a part of me will always see them as the sweet and misunderstood creatures that they are in this film - from this moment forward. (The other part of me, an avid fan of the Walking Dead will still run away from any future zombie apocalypse, but I'll wonder if they were sweet Zombies after I'm no longer in fear of being eaten)
A Zombie's Hope
Without giving too much of the rest of the plot away, these zombies are not all that they're thought to be. It turns out that the key to the cure is not medication or a quick shot to the head - it's hope and that underlying human connection that sparks within us all. As R gradually begins to change and evolve, something changes deep within him. He starts to become alive again in ways that do not go unnoticed by his unwitting accomplice.
Not all zombies have hope, however. Skeletons are zombies who have lost all previous vestiges to their human side, ultimately tearing off their own skin and becoming muscled, fast and deadly hunters. The skeletons ultimately realize that their world is changing - and they're as adamant to stop the evolution as the humans are to accept these hope-filled zombies into their world. Is it possible for two opposing sides to ultimately work together to stop the eminent threat that could destroy them both? Can you truly find love with someone who seems to be the opposite of everything you are - and everything that your family stands for? Is there hope for the people you previously deemed hopeless?
Watch the Trailer
This movie comes with a killer soundtrack, epic performances on all sides and a screenplay that can combine humor and a serious sub-message so perfectly that you're completely drawn into the story and the characters before you even realize it. While I was interested to see how it would play out, I was a bit hesitant to go to the theater to see it. I'm glad I did. This movie moves you - and it lifts you up on the wings of hope in ways that comedies rarely (if ever) can successfully pull off. Warm Bodies truly warms your heart - and allows you to see that different doesn't necessarily mean bad. Sometimes different just means different - and many human (and zombie) differences can ultimately be overcome in a way that paints the world full of hope - and causes you to leave the theater with a smile on your face and a warm feeling in the darkest, zombie reaches of your heart.