Some monsters are more than lovable; they’re Love-able. From Beauty and the Beast to the Twilight movies, certain vampires and werewolves and misshapen creatures only look scary, but they’re actually viable romantic prospects, waiting to be redeemed by the love of a good woman, a princess who can transform the frog with her kiss. In Warm Bodies, which grafts the Romeo and Juliet plot onto the zombie apocalypse scenario, the object of affection is a zombie named R (he can’t remember the rest of his name).
He develops an affection for still-living Julie after he eats her boyfriend’s brain and absorbs his memories. In a reverse of the typical viral-zombie process, his acquisition of human qualities — empathy, protectiveness toward living humans, a blood-pumping heart, and the ability to dream — begins to spread among the undead. As is often the case, it’s the humans, with their shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy, who are as much a threat to the peace as the flesh-eating undead. They have to learn to trust R and his band of increasingly lively zombies. Meanwhile, Julie learns to smear blood on her face and walk around in a daze in order to hide among the zombies. As both sides become more like each other, Warm Bodies, like other well-executed friendly-monster movies, forces viewers to ponder what it really means to be human.