Zombie films are at an all time high in popularity. So much so they are drawing majors like Brad Pitt. Whether or not you think he’s a good actor, you have to admit that his name attached to a film ratchets up production value, sells tickets and moistens many a vagina. Mmmmmmm, vagina.
Yet, as much as I love them (zombie films, not vagina—though I do love vagina), with every other horror movie being a zombie film, the genre is so watered down it’s worse than that day old Yoo-Hoo in my car I mistakenly took a big pull from, the one I had put in ice to keep it cool. Yes, zombies are commercially viable, but when you’re making movies solely for a payday you get crap like [enter any M. Night Shymalan movie here].
So, I’m going to take the controversial stance that will likely have me turn in my Horror Lover’s Club Card™: it’s time for zombies to take a hiatus. The only way that is going to happen is if someone nukes the fridge, thus waking the audience from their ironic, zombie-like viewing slumber. Enter Jonathan Levine and Isaac Marion (the writer who created Warm Bodies). With any luck Warm Bodies will drive the nail in the coffin, sealing it for a good long while. When the zombies break out again, they’ll be more bad ass than ever.
Until then, we will have to suffer through hackneyed crap like teen romance with zombies. Sigh.
If you plan on seeing the film, THE spoiler lies ahead.
I’m not going to bother getting into all the ways the film strays from zombie mythology, save one—it’s a big enough fuck you to stand all by itself.
LOVE. CURES. ZOMBIES.
That’s right. Love literally cures our lovably awkward-in-his-own-rotting-skin zombie. It starts with a How the Grinch Stole Christmas shot: the camera travels into his body and we watch his insides go from a clump dead, black mass to a bright red pump, as his heart beats. It’s the reverse of the usual heart skipping a beat, i.e. clever bullshit.
Because R (Nicholas Hoult) holds Julie’s (Teresa Palmer) hand when standing up against the other zombies, the love is spread though the horde. There’s a touching moment where the zombies are shuffling around the airport and one stops to look at an ad. In the ad a couple are holding hands. This sparks a memory of R and Julie holding hands. This spark passes through all the zombies present. By spark I mean the red thump of their hearts beating once. It’s so beautiful I became a woman, ruining my new jeans with my period.
I can just hear the admonitions, “Ok, you’re not being fair. It is a comedy. And you’re not it’s target audience. Plus, period jokes are gross.” Fair enough. I concede, but at the same time, you have to admit that even for a teen-aged chick flick, that’s really fucking cheesy. Would a bloody fart joke have been better?
It pained me to watch this crap, but I still I say, “Thank you.” Thank you for starting us down the road to making zombie movies unpopular. Whether or not it was a conscious decision, as I wrote at the top, this seemingly destructive movie can in fact have very positive effects on the genre overall. So, it’s not all bad.