There are two common themes found in this week’s films: love and death. Two films—the teen-oriented romance Warm Bodies and Oscar-nominee Amour—tackle both subjects head-on, though in different manners.
Leading this week’s films in wide release is Warm Bodies. Essentially a zombified Romeo and Juliet story, Warm Bodies follows R, a zombie, as he falls in love with a human named Julie. As they form an unusual union, R starts to revert back to his human ways—a change that could change the tensions between humans and zombies forever.
Even if it isn’t among the best modern adaptations of classic literature, Warm Bodies manages to work thanks to some creative twists on a well-worn genre: zombie films. While there’s a fair amount of zombie gore, Warm Bodies is far more hopeful than standard zombie fare. It helps that the story divides the undead into two groups: zombies and “Boneys,” or zombies that have shed any semblance of humanity, thus allowing for the zombies to serve more as middle ground between humans and “Boneys.”
Also giving the film a strong anchor is star Nicholas Hoult, headlining his biggest project to date. If there’s a young star to watch this year, I’d keep my eyes on Hoult. He imbues R with the right amount of emotion, making his transformation throughout the film believable (well…as believable as a zombie can be, I admit). He’s matched here by Teresa Palmer, playing Julie, as well as supporting players Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Annaleigh Tipton and Dave Franco. While it may not be something for fans of zombie movies, it should work as an appealing romantic comedy in a time where few films successfully work in that genre.