THERE'S no shortage these days of movies about love after death, but Warm Bodies offers irrevocable proof that making whoopee isn't just for vampires; zombies are getting a slice of the action too.
In the realm of Hollywood teen romances, the idea of a zombie - cute and pale, with good teeth and bad posture - trying to woo an attractive and (more importantly) still living member of the opposite sex isn't that much of a stretch.
Warm Bodies is about a post-apocalyptic world populated, it seems, by extras from Thriller - but without the dance moves.
The film, based on a novel by Isaac Marion and written and directed by Jonathan Levine, follows the mundane afterlife fortunes of R (Nicholas Hoult), a young man who informs us (via voiceover) that he's particularly bummed out about being dead.
As proof of his condition, he listens to Missing You, a popular John Waite song from the 1980s that has been adopted by successive generations as an unofficial anthem for lost, lonely souls. R may be a corpse, but at least he's got good taste in music (soundtracks are a vital component in genre movies like this).
R is among a band of zombies who live in an abandoned airport and shuffle around all day looking for somebody to eat; it's their version of the Hunger Games. Their main source of protein is a group of resistance fighters who occupy a walled-in section of the city and who conveniently make sporadic incursions into the dead zone in search of medical supplies.
A funny thing happens to R when he and his gang encounter one such party. Initially, he doesn't waste any time chowing down on brains and other body parts, but he's strangely conflicted when it comes to killing Julie (Teresa Palmer), a pretty young thing who arouses a, well, human response in him. Perhaps he's a little less dead than he thought.
So he takes her home to his pad - a converted airplane - and proceeds to keep her safe and warm and royally entertained. So what if he recently ate her boyfriend (Dave Franco) and inherited his memories as well?
He relies on his boyish behaviour and deadpan charm to compensate for the lack of a heartbeat. Like other boys his age, R is shy and tongue-tied in the presence of females, but he shows his worth by protecting Julie and keeping her alive - plus, his killer record collection is doing a lot to maintain her interest.
Warm Bodies is light and engaging and saves the day by not taking itself very seriously; viewers who take the same approach will be rewarded.
Hoult and Palmer are two appealing young stars who will succeed in eliciting the required response from the teen demographic. The movie may have a silly premise but it manages to make its case convincingly: in the end, we're all just looking for someone to love.