Nicholas Hoult is dead man walking in this zom rom-com – that’s a romantic comedy about zombies. Hoult, the nerd kid in About a Boy who returned as a Machiavellian bad 'un in teen drama Skins, plays R (it’s the only part of his name he can remember). He's just another zombie staggering around his new home in an abandoned airport in a post-apocalyptic USA. You know, eating people’s brains, staring blankly at his fellow walking corpses, and playing his immaculate vinyl collection in the 747 he's converted into a chic bachelor pad.
So R, who might just be a hottie or a My Chemical Romance fan under that crepuscular skin, black lips and those sunken eyes, isn’t like all the other lost boys. As well as that great taste in music, the poor lad is also lovelorn and in need of a girlfriend. We know all this because Hoult provides a dry and pretty funny running commentary about the crushing boredom of his daily life which the living among us may find depressingly familiar.
Shambling around the airport bumping into dead people and staring blankly into the distance, he remembers a better time when he was very much alive and shambling around the airport bumping into living people and staring blankly into the distance. So far so promising and in a smart zombie movie departure, when R gobbles the grey matter of his latest victim he gets high on their memories.
Meanwhile, the survivors of the viral infection (yada yada) that’s left half the world zombified live under martial law in a walled city making occasional sorties into zombieland to cull the growing herd. On one such scavenging mission, R crosses paths with Julie (Australian actress Teresa Palmer), one of a pack of teens toting big zombie splattering guns. He saves her from his fellow brain suckers and, in true Tie Me Up Tie Me Down style, kidnaps her and whisks her away to his stylish 747. Sure as decaying flesh, he falls madly in love with this living doll. Sadly for R, Julie’s dad is General Grigio, the gung-ho zombie hunter in chief and he’s played with gusto by John Malkovich doing his John Malkovich baddie thing very well indeed.
Warm Bodies has some cute ideas that are set up very nicely and Hoult proves he can do comedy and teen heart throb equally well. Showing life and love from a zombie’s viewpoint is also a noble attempt to breathe life into a genre which is by now way beyond parody. It's a decent enough teen flick with a few giggles in the first half but rather than make comedy out of the boy meets girl; boy loses girl (and arm and leg) potential, director Levine gives us a soppy cop-out that turns into a pool of mush.