Story

Warm Bodies opens with a monologue from a young male zombie called ‘R’ (Nicholas Hoult). He tells us that a virus has infected the world, turning people into flesh-eating zombies. Although the newer zombies are human-like in appearance, they lack all human emotions. They’re also driven by the need to eat the brains of their human victims to get their victims’ memories. The ones who have been zombies for a longer period of time are called Bonies. They have a skeletal appearance and are more aggressive. R is an exception. He’s quiet, collects all sorts of stuff and lives on an abandoned passenger jet at an airport inhabited by hundreds of zombies.

Julie (Teresa Palmer) is a young human. She lives with her father, General Grigio (John Malkovich), and her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) in a city surrounded by a giant wall that keeps the human inhabitants safe from zombies roaming outside. One day Julie, Perry and some of their friends are sent outside the city walls to search for medical supplies. R, his best friend M (Rod Corddry) and a group of zombies are prowling the streets looking for human brains to eat when they run into Julie and her friends. Perry shoots at R, who kills Perry and eats his brain.

R takes some of Perry’s memories, including his feelings for Julie. He decides he must protect Julie from the other zombies. He takes Julie back to his plane, and over the next few days they start becoming friends. R becomes more human as his friendship with Julie develops, and other zombies who have contact with R and Julie also begin to change. Only the Bonies stay the same. They continue to be a threat to humans and to the changing zombies.

If humans are to survive and the zombies are to become completely human, Julie must find a way to persuade her father that they’re changing. The humans must accept the changed zombies into their ranks so that together they can defeat the Bonies.

Themes

The supernatural; zombies; cannibalism

Violence

Warm Bodies contains horror violence, which is intense at times. It also shows gruesome deaths, including images of blood and gore. For example:

  • All humans in the movie carry guns.
  • A dozen zombies attack some young human men and women. The humans shoot at the zombies. Some of the zombies overpower some of the humans and knock them to the ground. One zombie bites a human on the neck (we see some blood), and another zombie bites a man on the arm (we see some blood flowing). The zombie grabs the human by the head and bashes the head several times against a concrete floor. We see blood and hear the sounds of bone breaking, then the zombie stuffs chunks of the dead man’s brain into his mouth and eats it. Zombies have blood and gore splattered over their faces and lots of blood dripping from their mouths.
  • In a flashback scene Julie and Perry come across Perry’s father, who has turned into a zombie. He lunges towards Julie and Perry in a threatening way. Julie shoots him in the head (off screen) while Perry watches.
  • One scene shows dozens of Bonies crawling over a large glass skylight. They bash on the glass until they fall through it and attack Julie and R. Julie shoots a Bonie in the head. Many of the Bonies chase Julie and R.
  • Several scenes show violent clashes between Bonies, zombies and humans. Bonies are bludgeoned to death with metal poles and fire extinguishers. Zombies punch, kick and smash the heads of Bonies until they’re destroyed. Humans join the zombies in the fight and shoot the Bonies. Bonies jump on and bite humans. In one scene a human lies convulsing as he dies.
  • R and Julie jump from a balcony into a pool in a desperate attempt to escape Bonies. Julies survives, but R lays motionless for a period of time until he wakes suddenly. Julie’s father arrives and shoots R in the shoulder. R has a bloody shoulder, and blood covers his hand and spreads out into the pool water.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

As well as the violent scenes described above, Warm Bodies is full of scenes that are likely to disturb children under eight years. For example:

  • The zombies have deathly pale complexions and blackened lips. Purple veins run down the sides of their faces and necks.
  • The Bonies are skinless skeletal creatures barely covered in flesh and muscle.
  • Zombies have blood smeared over their faces and dribbling from their mouths and chins. In several scenes, zombies eat chunks of brain. In one scene a zombie spits out the brain, but small pieces of brains are still smeared over his face.
  • A zombie tears at the skin on his face and pulls off a large section of skin.
  • R smears blood and gore on Julie’s face to make her look like a zombie. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie has infrequent low-level sexual references. For example:

  • While trying to flirt with Julie, R says to himself, ‘Need a different approach – don’t be creepy’, and ‘Date’s not going well – want to die all over again’.
  • After putting makeup on R to make him look more human, Julie’s friend Nora says, ‘You look hot!’
  • Nora says to Julie, ‘He could be your zombie boyfriend’. She talks about it being hard to get a boyfriend with it ‘being an apocalypse and all’. She says to Julie, ‘Have sweet dreams about your zombie’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A family drinks wine at dinner.
  • Julie drinks beer from a bottle. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Flashback images show Julie and Perry kissing passionately.
  • Brief scenes show Julie and R kissing passionately, holding hands and hugging.
  • Young women wear tight-fitting and revealing clothes.
  • In one scene Julie removes her jumper and jeans. There is a back view of her underwear and bra strap.
  • One scene shows R naked while having a shower – we see his bare back, chest, shoulders and arms. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: BMW Roadster and Playstation Vita. 

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name-calling in this movie. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Warm Bodies is a horror romance, which teenagers are likely to enjoy.

The movie has been released in time for the school holidays, and younger children might want to see it because of its publicity and attractive young stars, including Australian Teresa Palmer. But you should note that the movie is not suitable for children under 13 years and not recommended for children aged 13-15 years. This is because of the movie’s violence and disturbing scenes and themes. These include gruesome scenes of zombies attacking people and eating their brains.

These are main messages from this movie:

  • Love is a powerful emotion that can change people and even the world.
  • People can change for good, so they should be given a chance. You should accept them when they try to change.