Director: Jonathan Levine
Writers: Jonathan Levine, Isaac Marion (novel)
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco
Romeo and Juliet–with zombies. As long as you are willing to leave your braaaiiins (pun intended) at the door and ignore the details, this is a fun little movie with a lot of heart. The audience that caught the late-night show opening night certainly enjoyed it, although the romance seemed to overpower the zombie aspect–the audience was primarily female.
The world has been hit with some kind of “’pocalypse”, with corpses (zombies) stumbling about and the remaining humans walling themselves off for safety. R (Nicholas Hoult)–he can’t remember his full name–narrates the tale. He is drifting through his undead life, looking for more. He wanders the long abandoned airport and hangs out with his best friend M, although when corpses get together it isn’t all that interesting.
Julie lives with the other remaining humans behind one humungous wall. She’s out with foraging when she “meets” R. He is drawn to her–but it is not mutual. The rest of the movie is the story of their courtship, and what it means to the world.
The best parts of this movie are when it takes zombie tropes and pokes fun at them, when it goes on about corpses moving slow or brains being the “best part.” The silly (slightly sick) humor all through this is what makes it watchable. While they don’t skip over the fact that corpses eat living humans, they minimalize showing it–intentionally I think. This isn’t meant as a horror film, it’s a romance, although a very odd one. It’s wacky, it’s funny, it’s entertaining–if you can get past the whole eating dead bodies thing.
If you start looking at things too closely, you’ll notice that corpses can move more quickly if the plot requires it, and that the timeline doesn’t quite match up. How long ago did the ’pocalypse happen anyway? These kids were drinking and driving before it happened . . . but this movie is not meant to provoke great thoughts.
Nicholas Hoult (R) does a tremendous job with the handicap of not being able to talk, or even smile. He uses body language and facial expressions to great advantage. Teresa Palmer is completely innocuous as Julie, and John Malkovich is delightfully violent and half-cocked as the leader of the remaining humans. It’s reminiscent of his role as Marvin in RED, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to watch.
Verdict: zombie fans will love it, everyone else, your milage may vary, but give it a try.
Review By Elektra Hammond