Nicholas Hoult stars at R, a zombie who slowly becomes human as he falls in love with Julie, a human girl. PHOTO COURTESY EONE FILMS

Movie Review: Warm Bodies

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By Susana Gómez Báez

The Twilight saga has created a monster. What started with swooning fans, marveled at the irrational attraction of 18-year-old Bella to a 109-year-old vampire who has been dead for almost a century, has become a trend in cinema.

Popular culture has since forgotten all about Dracula, now seemingly accepting that vampires and werewolves are hot.

So to add to the list of movies in which beautiful girls fall in love with creatures that exist only to kill them comes gushingly sweet and predictably romantic Warm Bodies.

Adapted from the novel by Isaac Marion and directed by Jonathan Levine, Warm Bodies takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where there are only a few surviving humans left. The film is a new category of its own, a rom-zom — romantic zombie movie.

As the planet falls to pieces, zombie heartthrob R (Nicholas Hoult) and his friends are hunting for food — fresh human flesh — when he meets perfectly beautiful, mouthwatering Julie (Teresa Palmer). Human Julie.

For the rest of the movie, R wrestles with desire — it’s love at first sight, but he has an insatiable need to eat her. But what R feels for Julie warms his heart — literally, back into life. He sees this as a glimmer of hope and the key to success in his relationship and saving the world.

Since when do zombies talk, let alone feel anything? According to lead actor Hoult, this wasn’t just a concern for the audience. He said this was challenging for him throughout the filming.

“The hardest part [about playing R] was probably the fact that I didn’t get to talk a lot, which is also one of the easiest things because then I didn’t have to learn much dialogue,” he noted in a conference call. “But then I had to try and figure out other ways to communicate more physically.”

As the film launches into an interesting and admittedly adorable exploration of his character’s sentiments towards a girl, Hoult’s experiments with communicating through body language conjure many funny moments.

Premiering Feb. 1, Warm Bodies‘ release date couldn’t be more perfect; it’s a Valentine’s Day film. It’s not meant to make you think. If you overthink it, you’ll ruin it. It’s predictable. It’ll make you giggle, aw and ooh at all the right moments, and even laugh occasionally. But don’t expect more than that. It’s chewing gum for the brain.

In fact, Hoult’s good looks are the only thing that makes the idea of falling in love with a zombie bearable. It is a love story after all.

But the young actor has his own opinions about love. According to him, love is a powerful thing that can change the world and we need to appreciate the moments we have.

“We kind of forget to stop and enjoy what’s immediately around us, and the people, and kind of connect with the world,” Hoult said.

He added though that at the verge of a post-apocalyptic world, he’d be headed for the action.

“I’d try to blend in and roll with the zombies,” he said, chuckling at the thought. “Go under the radar. And maybe go on an undercover mission in and amongst their ranks.”

That sounds more like it.

-With files from Vanessa Francone

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