WARM BODIES directed by Jonathan Levine, written by Levine from the novel by Isaac Marion, with Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, Analeigh Tipton and John Malkovich. An eOne Films release. 97 minutes. Opens Friday (February 1). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
Romeo and Juliet are undead in Warm Bodies, an unexpectedly charming teen romance that easily beats Twilight at the whole dead boy/live girl dynamic.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who spends his days hanging around a ruined airport, occasionally forming a horde to mount a raid on the walled city where the last humans live. But then he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) and decides she's worth protecting - even though he's just eaten her ex-boyfriend.
Director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50) doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of Isaac Marion's novel, even as he reshapes it into another of his oddball tales of people who discover there's more to one another than they first believed. And the post-apocalyptic world is convincingly lived-in and hopeless, making the redemptive love story all the more moving.
Hoult's great physical performance and wry voice-over give his dead-eyed hero a soul; Palmer's Julie makes a good romantic foil; and John Malkovich is relatively restrained as Julie's zombie-hating father.
You'll have a ball watching Robb Corddry and Analeigh Tipton steal their scenes as R and Julie's best friends.