Last night I attended a special advance preview screening of Warm Bodies, the movie (based on a book) that people are calling "Twilight with zombies" possibly because none of these people have seen or read either. The only similarity between Warm Bodies and Twilight is that the girl is 100% human and the guy is not.
This is your warning for possible spoilers. It's a book, and it's a book that's been out a while, but whatever, if you don't want to spoiled, you might not want to read this. I'm just saying.
Warm Bodies, based on the novel by Isaac Marion, takes place in post-apocalyptic America, where unknown circumstances have caused part of the population to turn into zombies. As is the case with most zombie lore, if you're bitten by a zombie, you turn into a zombie, but unlike most of the fare, these zombies apparently still retain a bit of their humanity, as evidenced by the main character (and narrator), R (Nicholas Hoult). His name is R because all that he remembers about his pre-zombie existence is that his name started with "r". He is able to think, and occasionally speak, but most of the other zombies that join him in his daily airport wanderings are not.
(It's important to note that there are two different kinds of zombies. There are the "corpses", like R, the ones who still look like people. And then there are the Bonies, who are corpses who have just given up and become these skeletal predators who eat anything with a heartbeat.)
One day while out hunting with his best friend, M (Rob Corddry), and others, they run into a group of humans from "behind the wall", who are on a supply run in the unguarded city. R has a moment with Julie (Teresa Palmer), our heroine, in that he is momentarily stunned at the sight of her, before he attacks and kills Perry (Dave Franco), Julie's boyfriend, and eats his brain -- and therefore his memories. Perry's memories seem to make him extra protective of Julie, and instead of killing her, he covers her with his blood, masking her scent from the others, and brings her back to the airport.
The rest of the movie revolves around Julie and R's burgeoning relationship and the change it's causing in R -- and eventually the others. But whereas R wants to keep Julie at the airport with him, she wants to return behind the wall to her father (John Malkovich), the leader of what is possibly the only human settlement left on the planet.
So here are 5 things that you can expect from Warm Bodies:
1. Zombie violence.
You think this is pretty self-explanatory, but as I was reading the warning on my ticket, I kept going, "Zombie violence? How is that different from regular violence?" Well, the difference is, they're zombies. So there's biting, and brain eating, and though none of it is too graphic, the very squeamish might want to look away during some scenes, especially when you learn about Bonies near the beginning and witness someone becoming one.
It's narrated by a zombie, after all, who has a very realistic outlook on his current circumstances. The humor lies mostly in R's voiceovers, which make him sound like a completely normal person until you look at the screen and you realize he's, you know, eating someone's brain. One particular moment that really got the audience laughing was when he's trying to pass as human, and he tells himself to "say something human", and he says, "How are you?" and then goes, Nailed it.
Points must also go to Julie's best friend, Nora (Analeigh Tipton), who plays a small role in the beginning that gets larger at the end, because she's just awesome.
It's billed as a "zombie romance", hence all the Twilight comparisons, because the main plot point is that R is slowly becoming more and more human through his interactions with Julie. It's got one of those "love conquers all" themes that some people might find ridiculous but in this sense kind of works, because R and his friends still look human, as opposed to the Bonies, who are beyond all help.
4. Kickass soundtrack.
R is a hoarder, and one of the things he collects is vintage vinyl records, because he's a purist and the sound quality is better, as he explains to Julie when she asks why doesn't just get an iPod. He sits on his abandoned plane full of random crap that he brings back after hunting trips and listens to his albums like the sad sack hipster zombie that he is.
5. Kickass characters.
And by "kickass", I mean they kick ass. Julie's affect on R starts spreading to the rest of the Corpses, and this causes a huge chain reaction that culminates in a gigantic battle at the end. R is a pretty awesome fighter, which apparently is par for the course when you become a zombie, but Julie is no slouch either. She shoots moving targets while on the run in a scene that made me excited just because she wasn't the typical damsel in distress. Every time R saves Julie from the zombies, it's because she's quite literally surrounded, but she's still attempting to fight them off with whatever she can find, like weed whackers.
I haven't read the book, so I can't make any comparisons (although I can tell from the Wikipedia summary of the book's plot that there are differences, so be aware of that), but I can tell you, as someone with no previous knowledge and as such no expectations, that this movie was funny and touching, and there were points in the movie where the audience actually cheered. I really enjoyed this movie, and will probably go again when it officially gets released in February.