March 8th, 2019

me: braaains

Warm Bodies (This post brought to you by a nice bottle of grenache...

...because red wine is the best drink to accompany zombie and vampire films, natch.) Pardon me, this is just me noodling about a film that came out six years ago. Most people probably saw the trailer and went either, “A zombie film; no thanks, I’ll pass” or “ZOMG cutest zombie film EVAR!”

I concur with the latter; Warm Bodies is sweet, funny, has an amazing soundtrack and is an obvious homage to Romeo and Juliet apart from the happily-ever-after ending; the names of the lead characters are “R” and Julie. R saves Julie from the other zombies, and in turn, Julie saves R from being a zombie by literally awakening his heart. His resurrection is infectious: the other zombies who haven’t been completely lost by becoming “bonies” also experience it. There’s even a charmingly awkward balcony scene. It’s a feel-good film, and being a soppy perkygoth romantic, I love watching it.

But there’s a bit of a sting in the tail, because I also can’t help overthinking it. In the beginning, the zombies are all “others” to the uninfected humans, whether they’re bonies or R-analogues. In the conclusion, the “others” are divided into two categories. The R-analogues are others who can be re-integrated by assimilation (and, er, not dining on brains any more). The bonies are irredeemable and must be shot in the head. Inevitably, I see a parallel with immigration: between acceptable immigrants, who have the resources, skills, and sufficient cultural adaptability to become part of a society, and those who don’t and therefore must be excluded.

I think this is one of the reasons the zombie concept is so appealing. It allows for a very soothing simplification of otherness, by giving human-shaped others a characteristic so repugnant, eating the living and turning them into zombies/others, that it is not difficult to justify their murder. It’s uncomplicated, comforting, and unrealistic.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to finish this glass of wine and enjoy the shower/make-up scene soundtracked to M83’s “Midnight City”, because I refuse to let an excess of analysis spoil my enjoyment.

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