Warm Bodies (4K UHD Blu-ray Steelbook Review)

In 2013, I wasn’t initially on board with a romantic comedy featuring a regular human girl and a hipster zombie as the leads destined to fall in love, but here we are. Based on the description alone, it could have amounted to a catchy gimmick amid audiences loving all things zombie and paranormal teen romance novel-related. However, as it turned out, Warm Bodies was an enjoyable, clever, and oddly sweet film. It works best when it deals with the ins and outs of a zombie-infested world from the point-of-view of its zombie narrator. However, it was centered well enough with the romantic drama and ended up serving as a solid alternative to standard zombie fare. Now, the film has been re-released on 4K, complete with a fancy steelbook package.


(Note: Review originally published January 31, 2013.)

Nicholas Hoult stars as “R,” a zombie who cannot remember his actual name and spends most of his day slowly walking around a zombie-infested airport, searching for meaning in his life. The zombie apocalypse is currently in full effect, but we spend the majority of our time learning about how the undead are dealing with this world. R’s world is flipped on its undead head when he spots a human searching for supplies. This is Julie (Teresa Palmer), who is seemingly going to be eaten by R, only to find that he wants to save her and take her back to his home (an airplane full of random items R collects, such as vinyl). Julie is understandably confused but soon learns that R is different, as he is changing for the better. Soon, the two form a bond, which R seems far more excited about, as he and Julie begin to actually have fun together. More importantly, Julie’s interactions with R inspire the other zombies to change, possibly leading to the zombie epidemic’s end altogether.

The film also stars Rob Corddry as “M,” another zombie and R’s best friend; John Malkovich as Julie’s stern father, who acts as one of the military leaders of the remaining human population; Dave Franco as Perry, Julie’s human boyfriend; and Lio Tipton as Nora, Julie’s best friend. If you piece these characters and their names together, you may be able to further understand how Warm Bodies has many connections to Romeo and Juliet, which is what Isaac Marion, writer of the original novel the film is based on, had done intentionally.

I was really into the world this film set up and could have enjoyed seeing more of it. Given all the ideas introduced in this film, I am sure more could have been done with just the zombie society alone. Still, this is a romantic comedy. Fortunately, the film found a way to make that quite enjoyable, even if it takes a certain kind of audience to really believe in what they are seeing. In a post-Twilight world, I can undoubtedly see Warm Bodies being heavily scrutinized for capitalizing off of being an attempt to do the same sort of thing, except with zombies, but I would say that is unfair, as the movie is actually quite clever and certainly not as self-serious about its romantic struggle.

There is a lot of humor in this film, but never handled in a way that feels like a parody. Warm Bodies takes the concept and world seriously and lets the characters deliver the humor because they are mostly zombies and do and say things that are humorous (darkly humorous on many occasions). Allowing R to have an internal narration is a great way to put us in the mind of an undead corpse walking around and consider what someone like this would think about. Director/writer Jonathan Levine (50/50) does a good job presenting the film as a comedy where the punch lines come from what these characters say and do, rather than going for the easier way out and making a goofy comedy. It also helps that he lends a sense of style to the look of the film overall. It may not be a high-budgeted film, but it looks pretty good and has plenty of humor to dish out.

Now, I am very much a person that believes in the rules of what a zombie is and how it should act, but I have to say that this film allowed me to see another side of zombies. This film allows zombies to think, run occasionally, and even communicate with speech. Warm Bodies can get away with having zombies do unconventional activities because it does a good job of setting up its world and letting the viewers involve themselves in the lives of these zombie characters, as opposed to seeing it from the other way around. I believed that R was capable of these things because I liked him, and the universe established supports the idea that he could perform certain feats that are otherwise considered unheard of in most zombie films. Warm Bodies may not be the first zombie feature to diverge from the standard zombie formula, but it is a very likable film that makes me not mind.

Hoult does a fine job here as R. I really enjoyed his performance and how he pulled off something as tricky as delivering pathos in a character that eats humans to survive and brains to dream. R is a very likable zombie, which Hoult’s performance conveys quite well. At the same time, Palmer is solid enough as the Juliet to his Romeo. She is not really given a chance to do a whole lot of challenging work, but she plays well off of Hoult. Corddry’s M is a true scene stealer, as he is literally the embodiment of a lot of deadpan humor. Malkovich is basically wasted in this film, but his presence is always fun, regardless.

The issues I had with Warm Bodies are pretty simple. The movie sets up a lot but does not provide much payoff. The zombie universe is a lot of fun, but the film gets to the point of having an action-themed third act, which is not all that effective. There is a villainous threat in this movie in the form of “Boneys,” which are zombies way too far gone to have any sort of human “spark” left inside of them. This never goes anywhere beyond the idea of having something to fight against. Additionally, the concept of a zombie changing for the better is something that could be quite interesting, but we are really only given a Cliffnotes version of what that really amounts to. Overall, there are just little things that hold me back from really appreciating the movie more, especially since the romance went only so far instead of having me entirely on board with the film’s passion for these crazy kids getting together.

As a huge zombie film fanatic, the idea of making a romantic comedy with a zombie protagonist already threw this film off my radar. Sure, it is a neat and different idea, but I am a stickler for many of the rules that come with the territory of a zombie film. The best thing I can say about Warm Bodies is that it made me not care about that and let me enjoy the quirky universe that this film was able to set up and deliver on. Having a charismatic zombie lead also seems like an accomplishment, so I commend this film for taking chances and proving successful. I may love my classic zombie films, and I may already have a number one film that is a romantic comedy with zombies (Shaun of the Dead), but Warm Bodies is a lot of fun and charming in an “eat my brains” sort of way, making it worthy of coming out around Valentine’s Day to provide for an alternative option that is nonetheless sweet.


The 4K disc is identical to the previous 2017 release, and that review, including technical details, can be found HERE.


The 4K disc is identical to the previous 2017 release, and that review, including technical details, can be found HERE.


This 4K re-release is notable for its steelbook packaging. Much like all the recent Lionsgate releases, this is an impressive set with a slipcover that is partially clear to reveal an interesting design on the actual case. Also contained within are a Blu-ray copy of the film and a digital HD copy.

With that in mind, the 4K disc is identical to the previous 2017 release. That review, including details of the extra features, can be found HERE.


Warm Bodies remains a solid romantic comedy with zombies. Working as a dystopian Romeo & Juliet, while never elevating to a much higher level of quality to rise to the challenge of classic zombie features, it’s pretty entertaining and has lingered in my mind far longer than I expected it would. This 4K release offers nothing new as far as it’s already quite good technical presentation. However, the steelbook packaging very much fits with the film’s tone and will sit nicely on any collector’s shelf.

Order Your Copy HERE



Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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