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Film: Warm Bodies
He was dead inside... until he met her.

Meet R.

R is dead, but, so far, he doesn't mind at all - it's hard to mind when you're mindless, you know.

That all changes when R, leading a zombie horde, finds a group of survivors near his daily hangout, an airport. While attacking the survivors, he is struck by his first inkling of a feeling for an unknown woman. Before he can approach her, he's shot. Being undead and hungry, he kills and eats his shooter, a young man named Perry.

As he bites and chews into his brains (they're the tastiest part), he absorbs the memories of Perry, who just happened to be the lover of R's unknown dream girl, Julie. Strengthened by a mix of his own feelings for her and the ones he's just consumed, he feels the need to protect her from his undead cohorts. Fortunately for R, Julie is hiding nearby, and hasn't seen him consume the flesh of Perry. Unfortunately for R, he's a zombie. Zombies eat people. People shoot zombies. That's a fact. But R has this need to take and protect Julie from the others, leading her to an abandoned plane and sheltering her, all the while attempting to get closer. Somehow. It doesn't seem like he thought this out very well, what with the other zombies getting suspicious and a breed of superzombies - dubbed "Boneys" - out to consume all fresh meat, but, hey. Love finds a way, right?

Warm Bodies is a 2013 RomZomCom, a tale of a girl and a ghoul slowly falling in love. It is based on a 2011 book of the same name.

This film contains the following tropes:

  • Abduction Is Love: Sort of. R leads Julie away from where he killed Perry, as she's weaponless and far, far from the home base. R knows it's creepy as hell, and Julie thinks he's still going to eat her for quite a while.
  • Action Survivor: Julie, later skirting this and Action Girl.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Started as a short story.
  • Adapted Out: Colonel Rosso does not appear at all in the movie. Neither does R's zombie wife.
  • Adorkable: If someone told you there was a such thing as an adorable zombie, you'd probably laugh in their face... until you see this movie. Everything from his music collection to his knick-knacks to his self-deprecating inner monologue to his constant shrugging adds up to without a doubt the most adorable zombie ever.
  • All There in the Manual: The book goes into a little more detail what is going on in the world and the difference between Boney and Fleshy zombies, and what may be the reason behind this zombie apocalypse. This information is not crucial to the movie's plot, though, so it isn't really hurting anything by being excised.
  • And I Must Scream: All the zombies. While R seems just alternately annoyed by and self-conscious about his inability to communicate, some zombies eventually give up on what little humanity they have left and become Boneys.
  • Armies Are Evil: Played with, in that the security forces are the "antagonists" and have no idea that the zombies are slowly regaining their humanity, leading Julie to have to hide herself and R for a majority of the film. In the end, thanks to zombies managing to save several soldiers from Boneys, and a strike force not opening fire due to the sheer strangeness of zombies fighting amongst each other, they manage to not kill any of the zombies, and put down their guns when R's zombification reverses.
  • Ascended Demon: R and the other zombies who pursue love reconnect with their humanity, which starts to reverse their zombiism and bring them to life. not so much the Bonies.
  • Back from the Dead: Would all the zombies starting on the path to becoming human again count?
  • Beergasm: R manages to scrounge up a Corona for Julie when she asks for food and drink, on the first day of her rescue by R. Julie appreciates it very much - heck, it's still carbonated. She hasn't had a beer in a long, long time, after all.
  • Black Best Friend: The black soldier that Julie knows and lets her into the safe zone. He's also the first to lower his weapon when Julie's father threatens to kill R, after he notices that R is bleeding.
  • California Doubling: Montreal doubling for "Generic American Metropolis", using CGI to mask the skyline somewhat.
  • Call Back: Nora states in R's dream that she would have liked to have been a nurse if not for the Zombie Apocalypse. In the end, she's acting as a nurse. This is also a reference to her counterpart character in Romeo and Juliet: the Nurse, though that character would be called a "nanny" in modern terms.
  • Call to Agriculture: Nora mentions to Perry and Julie in a dream-or-possibly-cannibalism-induced-flashback that if not for the apocalypse, she would have wanted to be a nurse, helping heal people instead of killing to survive. This is exactly what she does at the end of the film.
    • Perry was explicitly interested in agriculture, not soldiering. He loses it when his father becomes a zombie. It is strongly implied that his volunteering for dangerous missions is really an attempt at suicide by zombie
  • Cannibalism Superpower: With brains and proximity to Julie come memories, and more intellect and motor control, and a higher chance to undo the infection.
  • Comforting Comforter: R gives Julie a blanket on the night of their first meeting. This is the first sign for her that he is genuinely kind.
  • Creator Cameo: Isaac Marion can be seen shuffling around as a zombie when R and Julie go through the metal detectors when he brings her to the airport.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: R has eerie light blue eyes that highlight his zombie nature.
  • Dem Bones: "Boneys", zombies who are completely rotted to just sinew, skin, and bones. They're far more zombie-like, predatory, and animalistic than the regular zombies, who are mostly interested in shambling around and finding humans to eat, whereas Boneys actively seek them out.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The reason Boneys are Boneys.
  • Easily Forgiven: Julie forgives R so fast for the whole 'eating my boyfriend' incident that it's possible to get the impression that she didn't care much about Perry. It's explained later to R that it isn't that she doesn't miss Perry, but growing up in the freaking Zombie Apocalypse has made her used to losing people.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: The zombies (and R and Julie) versus the Boneys and Julie's father's security force, the former of whom try to learn to live again, while the Boneys aren't concerned with anything but eating people, and the Army doesn't realize that the zombies are regaining their humanity back, and are far, far too used to desperate survivalism and corpses trying to eat them. Emotions also are the first step to reversing zombification.
  • Fake American: Both leads are this, with R being played by Nicholas Hoult (a British actor) and Julie played by Teresa Palmer (an Australian actress).
  • Flashback Stares: Mark triggers a memory while staring at a picture of a couple holding hands. This is important because before now zombies had almost no recollection of their past.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Played with. The humans see zombies as just animalistic monsters, but R desperately tries to dispel this fact. And in the end, the Boneys, who really are bloodthirsty animals, are all destroyed. R lampshades it, acknowledging that what essentially is genocide is screwed up, but there could be nothing done for the Boneys, who are too far gone to be saved.
  • Grilling the Newbie: Nora starts questioning R on what it's like being a zombie as soon as she meets him.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Zombies, given enough time and recollections of their past lives (and possibly brains), will eventually become conscious enough to resist Horror Hunger and enough to protect loved ones from other zombies. They begin to develop empathy, as well. This leads to M, who initially tried to get R to eat Julie, to save him from Boneys, and manages to awaken enough zombies to lead a horde to rescue the human survivors from the Boneys.
  • Horror Hunger: R is conscious enough to know that eating people is wrong in the beginning, but on top of zombification having a constant, driving hunger, zombies have to eat to survive. R, at least, eats the brains to ensure that his victims are spared undeath (and because they are the best part, they make you feel human again), which kicks off the plot.
  • Humanity Ensues: Julie turns out to be the catalyst for the zombies regaining their humanity, first with R, and then R spreading it to his fellow Corpses.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Even before R eats Perry's brains, he's a bit smitten with Julie when he sees her fighting off zombies with a shotgun.
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Done to a degree by the Corpses. As they regain their humanity, they are given the option to bury it, run away, or try to get help from the living who they can BARELY communicate with. They take the last option and mention to survive despite the prejudice that exists in the living.
  • Left the Background Music On: During the Lipstick and Load Montage by Nora and Julie to make R look human enough, Nora cranks up "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbinson. Julie doesn't find it funny.
  • Lemony Narrator: R, who self-deprecates near-constantly and hands out details on the apocalypse. He'd be articulate if his rotted, decayed, hungry brain didn't get in the way of coherent, conscious thoughts.
  • Lighter and Softer: The movie excises a number of darker moments from the books, most significantly by sparing General Grigio, and keeping R from killing any of the Living after Perry's death. Perry's debraining and thus permanent death is also treated as a mercy by R's (rationalizing) internal narration (see Horror Hunger), rather than falling to the hunger for emotions as in the book.
  • Love Hurts: Halfway through the film, as Julie and R make their way towards the Wall, Julie and R share a tender night together, and Julie admits that R is one of the nicest people she's met since the Zombie Apocalypse. This prompts R to admit what happened with Perry and and Julie takes off in the morning, leaving a hurt R to wander back towards his home, wishing he was truly undead, so he didn't have to feel loss and sorrow and getting dumped. M showing up and telling him that the Boneys are massing and heading for the survivor compound makes him realize he was foolish, and he heads back for the compound.
  • Lipstick and Load Montage: Done by Nora and Julie to R, in order for him to look human enough to get to the General to warn him of the large horde of approaching Boneys, and that the corpses want to help.
  • Makeover Montage: How the girls disguise R as a human. Lampshaded, of course. Doubles as a Mythology Gag, as in the book, R says "I wish in real life you could switch to a Makeover Montage".
  • Meet Cute: As my friends and I try to devour you and your friends!
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Played with. Zombies don't actively attack each other, but Boneys can and will, if only to intimidate. Even then, they don't do much but shriek at zombies with a bit of life in them threateningly, or pin them to the ground. This is especially weird as Boneys eat their own flesh, meaning they should find other zombies appealing.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Zombies are referred to as "corpses," "boneys" and "skeletons" depending on the type and who's speaking. However, R does at one point call himself a "dead-eyed zombie", and there's a Shout-Out to the film Zombie.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies are mostly patterned after Romero's: shambling, undead, passive and when they're not busy hunting for food, they're repeating what they remember of their life. They can also use tools. They appear to be able to think rationally as time goes on, they realize old features of their past life. Their fondness for eating brains, which eases the pain of being dead, comes from Dan O'Bannon's Return of the Living Dead spin-off. As far as intelligence, they are capable of complex internal thought, but their capacity to act on those thoughts is limited. There are also Boneys, who have apparently surrendered to despair, rip off all their skin, and become completely monstrous. It's eventually releaved that fleshy zombies can come back to life with the Power of Love.
  • The Power of Love: What makes zombies come back to life.
  • Power Walk: Played for laughs, as R and M lead a zombie horde... and it's not in slow motion, it's the zombies shuffling verrryyyyy slowly.
    R: God we're slow! This could take a while.
  • Precision F-Strike: Used twice by M. Both times, it's used for humour and to demonstrate how the zombies are growing in linguistic skills and becoming more human.
    • The first time is when he meets up with R after Julie leaves: "Bitches, man."
    • Later, when M manages to gather a force of zombies who have done a Heel-Face Turn: "They say 'Fuck yeah'."
    • Subverted with Perry, who says "Smile, Motherf-, but gets attacked and eaten by R before he can finish.
  • Race Lift: Nora is dark-skinned in the books. In the movie, she's played by a white woman.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Like in the book, R pretends to be one of the living and straight up walks right into the quarantine zone and goes to the house of the local General Ripper to meet Julie.
    • The living have a shoot-on-sight order on Corpses. The Corpses are regaining their humanity, but are still unable to talk coherently. Their choices are to bury their humanity and join the Boneys, to hide, or to ask the living for help. They then proceed to start an all out suicidal war against the superior Boneys and help the living. The platoon of soldiers that run across them are so confused by the sight that they are unable to bring themselves to shoot. They heard news that one of their soldiers was saved by a Corpse from Boneys. One the Boneys is thrown from the fight and the only thing they can agree on is to kill ones like it. M then walks up to them while the battle is still raging and non-nonchalantly says "hi" to them. They are so taken aback from the surreal situation that they spare the Corpses and help them with the Boneys.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Soft Water: R and Julie fall a good two dozen stories into the water. Julie emerges completely uninjured because R was on the bottom. R is merely knocked unconscious for a brief moment.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: General Grigio survives the ending confrontation and does not succumb to Boniefication as he does in the book.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: R and Julie, whose names are a reference to the most famous star-crossed couple. In their case, they're kept apart by the fact that R is, y'know, not completely alive. Julie's family and friends don't really approve.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When in zombie occupied territory, it's best not to ignore it when someone says they hear something. It might be zombies coming to eat your brain.
  • True Love's Kiss: Julie's kiss turns R back into full human
  • The Un Reveal: We never find out R's full name.
  • Whole Plot Reference: It's Romeo and Juliet IN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. R is Romeo, Julie is Juliet, M is Mercutio, Nora is the Nurse and Perry is Paris. R and Julie are Star-Crossed Lovers from opposite sides of a conflict. There's also a version of the famous balcony scene. The ending is much happier, however.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The plot of the film's one major struggle with this. M initially comes to the realization that R is hauling around a living being, and tries to force him to eat her (EAT!), but realizes something is off about this and wants to see them together, and lets them go - saving them from the Boneys not too much later. This is a recurring theme in the film, with the zombies struggling to shrug off their braindead animalism to become human again, despite the danger of doing so, and the Boneys attempting to enforce animalism.
  • Zombie Gait: Played straight and subverted. Zombies can break out into a full sprint to chase down prey, but their degraded motor skills mean they still have the gait when they're not hunting.

Ominous Multiple ScreensImageSource/Live-Action FilmsCreepy Blue Eyes
Upstream ColorFilms of the 2010sThe Way Way Back

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