As dates go, it should be pretty cool. You bring the girl you've fallen in love with back to your place to hang out with and and play her a collection of classic vinyl. You know so much about her you're sure it will work out. Trying to play it cool, you repeat the mantra, "Don't be creepy, don't be creepy, don't be creepy."
So far, so every teen love story committed to celluloid. Only in the case of Warm Bodies the date takes place in an abandoned plane in an airport filled with flesh-eating monsters. And the guy hoping to get lucky learned everything about his potential partner by eating her boyfriend's brains. Suddenly, even internet stalking doesn't seem so creepy...
As relationships go, the love story between zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer) is odd. Even in a world where vampires and werewolves routinely chat up the living, a corpse getting it on with a live human seems, well, icky.
And yet - cruelly labelled by many as Twilight with zombies - this unusual tale is anything but. Posting the first four minutes online has - like R with his favourite snack - given the audience a taste of its brains, including the kind of digs at society you might expect in a George A Romero flick.
On the plus side, the story (based on Isaac Marion's novel of the same name) doesn't just borrow from zombie lore, it advances it. Watching Hoult and Rob Cordrry try to converse as two monosyllabic zombies is painfully funny.
Director Jonathan Levine also gets a lot of things right, expertly riffing on the awkward nature of relationships and the plodding nature of modern life with some wicked little bites of humour.
Unfortunately, like a zombie missing its arms, Warm Bodies fails to fully grab its audience. The question that hangs in the air as Julie looks at R is "What are you?" and the same thing can be asked of the film. Part thriller, sci-fi, action and love story, it never really chooses a genre to focus on. And with a 12A certificate it can't go the route of TV's The Walking Dead and ramp up the horror.
While it has the brains zombies so often crave, Warm Bodies lacks both the heart and the bite to be a classic.
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