Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves – they are everywhere these days! These are awfully recurring ideas for current films although we can’t fight the fact that there are some actually good ones. While the superior blood-sucking and merciless image of the vampires have been destroyed by relatively sparkly ones, here emerges the other kind of the flesh eating bunch which are the zombies.
In the period of time where we can call B.R., Before Romero, the idea of the undead rising genuinely stemmed from the Haitian Voodo culture. The word “zombi” means the “spirit of the dead.” The Voodoo folklore is originally pertaining to the use of black magic, to resurrect the diseased through the administration of coup padre – a powder with tetrodoxin, the deadly substance of the “porcupine fish”, as the primary ingredient.
In 20th century American culture, the ideas of zombies have traditionally been portrayed almost exclusively through the medium of film. Zombies were popularized altogether with versions of “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, “The Wolfman” and “The Mummy.” Back then, zombies were being portrayed merely as the dead being turned into mindless slaves and reduced to a trance-like state to obey the commands of a human “master.”
It is then in the 1950s and 1960s that zombies adopted a more sinister air. They now consume human flesh due to what was thought of as a satanic awakening or caused by a supernatural or extraordinary force. It was George Romero’s “The Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 that created a new spin towards the entire horror genre. Since then the trend of zombies came flooding film industries producing exaggerated, more violent and merciless versions of the rotting human-flesh-eating undead creatures.
Today, these apocalyptic themed films are caused by epidemics and human errors which make it easier to believe since it can be plausible in our time. These creatures are still featured to be in no position of controlling themselves and are only subjected to one objective which is to devour human flesh in the most gore way possible. These guys have even upgraded through the years and can now have the ability to sprint alongside humans or, in some cases, communicate with other zombies which only makes the situation logically absurd.
Which brings us to director Jonathan Levine’s take on zombies in “Warm Bodies”, how do we feel about this?
The film is certainly a step back for Levine after his previous film, 50/50. It is also a step back to the history of this supernatural creature or shall we say an embarrassment? “Warm Bodies” revolves around the idea of forbidden love. It is about a zombie (Nicholas Hoult) falling in love with a human survivor (Teresa Palmer) in a post-apocalyptic setting. It would be a letdown for most genre purists since it can be easily dismissed as another “Twilight”phenomenon or another exceedingly substandard film. This is even incomparable to Ruben Fleischer’s “Zombieland” which is another romantic-comedy that is doing far better in the genre. True enough though, after a wave of intensified zombie films, a zombie romance-comedy wherein the zombie is paired with a human would take anyone by surprise since it’s a whole new thought in itself. Also for in any case, nobody would have ever considered the corpses to have feelings. It is only a matter of the audience’ perception if they are open to the idea of this being tolerable. Now would you even consider dating a rotting corpse? I think not.
The film is narrated by the zombie’s conscience, so this coming from a zombie’s perspective makes it all the more interesting. As you go deeper into the plot, the human survivor learns to trust him and starts to care for him causing subtle changes in the zombie in a way that he becomes more human in the process. It all becomes very predictable and begins to sound too Disney-fied from there as though everything always ends in a good light.
“Warm Bodies” is generating this concept of a literally heart-warming tale about the power of love and human connection overcoming obstacles and prejudices however, the manner of presenting this did not blow up a great impact on the viewers. The film did not actually hit the genre with full force since the film was too cluttered up with it being part romance, part comedy, part apocalypse, part action and etcetera. While these pieces work good together, these still aren’t equivalent to one strong definitive core that would make up a big hit. So as the title suggests, “Warm Bodies” gets warm enough but never managed to generate any heat.
To top it all off, the acting wasn’t too impressive as well even for a comedy film. They didn’t give much justice to ferocious, flesh-eating zombies that we know so well which resulted to be too light and unbelievable for an apocalyptic themed movie. Also, the computer-generated imagery of the films’ more dangerous characters called the “bonies” was truly terrible. The CGI appeared too stiff and unrealistic. It came out to a dreadfully cheap outcome as we expected more from Hollywood talents.
The movie brings shame to the momentum of most sought after zombie films due to its quality and plot. It’s a poorly paced film whose only saving grace was the performances upon which it relies too heavily and, again, did not quite deliver.
Despite all this, the idea created a more diversified reflection of the endless possibilities of the unknown. It also gave us a new angle to look at. In this movie it is not about the humans for once, it is the dead’s perspective. So, the film is one to make you think. In a whole, “Warm Bodies” was tolerable, though it could’ve been far better if the producers went to the extremes. It is the type of film good enough to waste away about 90 minutes of your time in a theater if you haven’t got anything to do. For the lack of a better word, we can say that it counts as a cute film, nonetheless, cheesy but bearable. It needs more brains of a powerful storyline that will leave you with a bite of an unforgettable experience.
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