Zom-coms (zombie comedies) are a dime a dozen -—Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, The Dead Don’t Die… the list goes on — but there aren’t all that many zom-rom-coms. Romance and the living dead don’t tend to mix that well, but one underrated example of this unlikely sub-genre is now streaming on HBO Max and you should definitely check it out. The movie in question is 2013’s Warm Bodies.
Based on the YA novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies is probably the only retelling of Romeo & Juliet that takes place in a zombie apocalypse. X-Men‘s Nicholas Hoult stars as R, who may seem like your typical stumbling, groaning ghoul on the outside but on the inside, as we learn through his narration, he’s surprisingly intelligent and thoughtful.
And that’s why, when he encounters human survivor Julie (Teresa Palmer, Discovery of Witches), he decides to protect from his ravenous kind instead of eating her. Julie soon discovers that R is different from the others, but how is she going to convince her trigger-happy father (John Malkovich) that zombies aren’t all bad and stop an all-out war between the living and the dead?
Coming hot on the heels of the Twilight movies, Warm Bodies was somewhat viewed upon its release as a zombie flick for Edward Cullen fans. And while Twilight lovers will find much to enjoy, it’s arguably smarter and funnier than those films, possessing a genuine sweetness and feel-good atmosphere. There’s also some fun world-building in there, in terms of the different degrees of zombies and the reason why they eat brains (which foreshadows a similar concept in iZombie).
Warm Bodies is the perfect supernatural-flavored movie to stick on this Halloween if you’re not in the mood for a full-on horror flick. Find it on HBO Max now.