Though unclear what the cause was, the world has succumb to a zombie invasion. Humans have walled themselves into possibly one of the last remaining cities not overtaken by the hordes. Among the living dead is a zombie by the name of R. He is a little different than most, as he is both a hoarder and ponders his existence. When a group of people try to raid a medical supply room, R and a group of his zombies arrive to a major feast. Stunned by what he saw, R saves Julie and brings her back to his airplane home. When he finally is able to convince Julie that he does not want to harm her, she decides to trust that he will get her back to her people. What neither of them realize is that their chance meeting has started something in the zombie hordes that could change the apocalypse for the better, but only if they can survive the massive number of bonies that are gathering by the masses.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult (R), Teresa Palmer (Julie), Analeigh Tipton (Nora), Rob Corddry (M), Dave Franco (Perry), John Malkovich (Grigio), Cory Hardrict (Kevin), Jonathan Dubsky (Berg), Quinn O’Neill (Emily)
On the verge of a breakout onto the celebrity scene, Hoult plays the heartthrob of a zombie that leads the film. Showing an ability to breathe a little life into a dead character, Hoult takes his role from a comedic angle in almost a self-loathing sense. Palmer actually exhibited a little less emotion than Hoult through the film, except for some of the scenes earlier on when her character is frightened by her predicament. Corddry was a smart choice to play Hoult’s friend, as he adds a little extra flare to the zombie transformation.
Jonathan Levine has made a living in the comedic realm, but this movie takes a little bit of a different approach. R was a self-loathing zombie who seemed to try to stay in touch with a life once lived. While he may be more self-aware than the rest, he still craved brains and flesh. Before saving Julie, R took down Perry and ate part of his brain. Part of the magic of eating a victim’s brain was a chance to experience their memories, which gave R a chance to experience a little of Perry’s life. The combination of those memories and his strange ability to feel even as a zombie led him to truly care for Julie’s safety. While she was thrown off by the eventual realization of how Perry died, R made an impression on Julie and was able to convince her to trust him budding love for her.
While most zombie movies focus on how the outbreak happened or simply how to survive it, this movie takes the angle of how to cure it. While R was always a bit strange, meeting Julie was the spark that restarted his once dead heart. Love gets used as the catalyst and it sparks the same reactions in the other zombies, at least making the ones who had not transformed into bonies susceptible to the change as well. With Grigio set up to be a shoot first ask questions later type of leader, Levine prepared the direction of the film to require some significant drama to allow for the realization of the transformation. It took R quite a bit of time to recognize what was happening to him, but when he realized that he could dream again, he knew that he had to reconnect with Julie to save him and his kind.
While the film does drag on at a slower pace at times, it is a zombie movie. The premise departs from many of the other films out there and does have a little bit of heart, enough to make the film rather entertaining.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5