Zombieland and Warm Bodies

As a general rule, I’m not much of one for zombie movies.  I’m not much of one for blood and guts in general, so…yeah.  But I had a movie night with friends recently, and watched Warm Bodies, which was really quite a bit of fun.  I watched Zombieland (with the same people) on a different occasion.  Since it’s another funny zombie movie, I thought–why not a joint review?

Zombieland (2009) focuses on the last handful of people left alive in a world overrun with zombies.  Jesse Eisenberg plays (of course) a shy, nerdy college student, who cites his survival to his list of rules–like Rule#1: Cardio, and Rule#4: Don’t be a hero.  The movie turns into a sort of strange, zombie-filled road trip–and of course one of the only other surviving humans happens to be an attractive girl (Emma Stone) the same age as the main character.

On the con side of things, there are some moments of zombie gore and guts (particularly in the first few minutes).  If you’re squeamish, watch with someone who has seen the movie and can warn you (that’s what I did).  As far as zombie movies go, it’s not really a heavily gory one, though (or so I’ve heard).  On the pro and con side, there’s an awesome, super tough girl…who then ultimately does something stupid and has to be rescued by the not-nearly-as-awesome guy.  Sigh.  But the whole thing is something of a geek-guy fantasy, so I suppose it’s just how it goes.

On the pro side–it’s frequently a very funny movie.  And–the Rules!  The Rules are how I ended up watching this to begin with.  I’m writing a novel with a character who has a list of rules for life–and I had never seen this movie.  Everyone in my writing group told me I had to watch Zombieland.

The Rules were awesome…but I feel cheated.  We hear about Rule #30, so there must be thirty rules, but we only actually hear maybe a dozen of them.  For the record, my character has around 35 rules, and they are all in the novel.

Aside from too few rules and too much gore, though, it’s a fun time.

Warm Bodies (2013) tells the story from the point of view of one of the zombies.  His name is R–he can’t remember the rest.  He’s pretty depressed about his non-life, and dreams of being able to connect with another person.  And one day, he does; he meets Julie, a human from a hold-out community of survivors, who R chooses to protect during a zombie attack.  The more time they spend together, the more R begins to change…

On the pro side, R has a fantastic inner monologue going on.  It’s witty and funny, offering commentary on life and on zombie tropes, and giving such an interesting insight into his head.  R has to work so hard to overcome his zombieness, and to connect with Julie–prompting monologue such as “Don’t be creepy, don’t be creepy…”

The gore level is a bit lower than Zombieland, although it does have its moments, so watch out.  On the pro and con sidethey do something really fascinating with the trope of zombies eating brains.  The idea is that eating someone’s brain enables the zombie, at least temporarily, to relive that person’s memories, and remember what it feels like to be alive.  If you can get past the ick factor (eating brains!), I love the concept.

On the con side, well, don’t expect much of this to make any kind of scientific sense.  R doesn’t remember how the zombie infection got started, and pretty much nothing about the nature of the zombies is explained or even seems terribly reasonable.  But honestly, it doesn’t matter that much.  I mean, it’s a surprisingly clever zombie movie with engaging characters.  For me, the science becomes secondary.

I’m still not a fan of zombies in general…but if you want a funny twist on zombies, these were a couple of good ones.

10 thoughts on “Zombieland and Warm Bodies

  1. I read Warm Bodies and didn’t love it, but I liked R’s voice, especially in the beginning (the humor kind of got lost as the plot got more intense). He definitely had a lot of funny one-liners. I’m not a zombie person either, so it was kind of a random read for me, but fun.

  2. Rule #1 of zombie movies: You don’t watch zombie movies for good science, lol!

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Warm Bodies. I’m not a huge fan of the zombie film but this one looked like just too much fun to pass up. And Zombieland is just great. I got free passes to see it on its release and went with friends and we had a great time. I’ve shown my wife, who isn’t a fan of these films, and she really enjoyed it too (so I suspect she’ll like Warm Bodies).

  3. I haven’t seen either of these films. After watching Shaun of the Dead I’ve not really been keen to watch more zombie/comedy films. My brain really can’t get around there being a joke one minute and then horrific gore the next minute.

    1. Yeah…that’s largely what gives me pause about zombie movies. You should probably stay away from Zombieland, but you might like Warm Bodies. As I recall, there’s one bad moment of gore, but mostly it isn’t too bad.

  4. Just hopping over from Writer’s Alley to say ‘thanks!’ for commenting on my recent middle grade post! And BTW – I really want to see Warm Bodies. Almost did the other night, but I’m still undecided if I should read it first.

  5. That’s interesting that you found a movie that uses your idea of “rules to live by” that are spelled out and numbered. I think it’s better to reveal them all, as you’ve done in your novel, but maybe for the sake of brevity in the movie, they didn’t want to go through the whole list. You have more freedom to list them all in a novel format rather than a screenplay format.

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