Warm BodiesJonathan Levine’s new movie Warm Bodies takes the zombie apocalypse to a whole different arena when he pairs up zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) with apocalypse survivor Julie (Teresa Palmer) to present the year’s most unlikely love story.

But what else would we expect from Levine, whose previous effort 50/50 delivered a heart-warming comedy about cancer – yes cancer… Levine is quite the master when it comes to flipping genres on their head and with Warm Bodies, he has excelled – creating a zombie rom-com.

Warm Bodies stars much like any other zombie movie – with apocalyptic scenes of devastation and free-range zombies roaming the streets as the survivors hole up in a walled-off area of the city. But within a few minutes, the audience realises this is no ordinary zombie flick. We meet ‘R’ and are introduced to his inner monologue – who knew zombies had an inner monologue – and learn what we can of his daily zombie routine. Like most zombies, R is driven by a need to feed. We discover however that when a zombie consumes the brain of one of his victims he also absorbs their memories – an interesting adjunct of which we will learn more later.

Meanwhile Julie – the daughter of the zombie resistance’s General (a deliciously over the top John Malkovich) –  is sent out of the safety of the walled city with a troop of zombie resistance fighters in search of medical supplies. Plots being what they are, her boyfriend Perry and her best friend Nora are also along for the ride. When the troop encounters a herd of zombies things look bad for all concerned.

Enter R, consumed by his need to feed – he too launches in on the attack but midway through the melee R spies Julie and something pings inside his frazzled zombie brain and heart. Instead of killing Julie and eating her brain, he opts to kill her boyfriend instead and rescue Julie from the zombie fray.

Whether this new love for humanity has been triggered by Perry’s memories of Julie or is indeed a new take on love, at first sight, is unclear. What is clear though is we are about to embark on a rom-com like no other.

As Julie and R draw closer together, R’s affection for the human begins to have a transforming effect not only on him but on the zombies around him.
Could love be the cure for the zombie virus?

Nicholas Hoult, who made such a splash with his debut film  About a Boy when he was just a tween, proves he has what it takes to assume leading man status with Levine’s new flick. He is ably matched by Aussie, Teresa Palmer (I Am Number 4) as his human love interest. Together the pair manage to make the notion of a zombie human love story credible. Sparking things up whenever he lands on the screen, John Malnovich balances droll wit with machismo to provide a tongue in cheek performance as General Grigio that enlivens any scene.

It may not have the heart of Levine’s previous effort, 50/50 or the humour of his Sundance fave The Wackness – but Warm Bodies still has plenty that will appeal to its target audience.