This zombie-film is unique for its kind. Most zombie-narratives; as we have come to discover, are used to metaphorically represent the repercussions of society. Whether this is a result of capitalism, colonialism, technology, or destruction of the ecosystem, the role of the zombie-narrative, as Kirkland puts it, is to show us how messed up we are and to make us question our society (Cavanan 435). This film however, not only uses the zombie to show us our societal flaws through zombies and skeletal zombies (whom are the zombies that have lost every drop of their humanity and resorted to complete and total violence) it also uses zombies to show us our capability of restoring humanity.
Now we all know “the big lie” is the human restoration of the ecosystem, should we completely neglect the warnings and create an ecological-apocalypse then things will never be the same. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road shows this to us when he states in the final paragraph of the novel, that the maps and mazes on the backs of rainbow trout are of something that cannot be put pack. Not be made right again (287). As humans we attempt to plant trees to reverse the “green house effect”, we sink million of dollars into re-forestation, all with the optimism that we recognize the harm we have caused the natural environment ( Katz 444). These acts make us feel good at the prospect of restoration, they are a means of relieving the guilt we feel for the initial destruction. However, the ever growing list of extinct species and the non-renewable resources we harvest for our use, without caring what we destroy to do so or what will happen when we run them dry, show us that an ecological-apocalypse is difficult to ever recover from.
However, should we assume that the apocalypse is a result of capitalism, as it would appear so in Warm Bodies then we can see that should the zombies make us consciously aware of our wrong doings, and we still have enough ecosystems then there is a possibility that with the restoration of humanity in humans, there could be an altogether restoration. Another thing to consider is the role that religion always seems to play in the apocalypse and this is no different in Warm Bodies. In this film, there are two major stages to the restoration process, the capability to love and the sacrifice.
When we first meet R (yes his name is simply R- it is a bit of a mockery towards the zombie grunts and groans) we watch him kill, and eat a young boy who turns out to be his love interests previous boyfriend (now that’s a love triangle… or was…). Julie changes something in R, he saves her from the other zombies and keeps her safe because he is attracted to her. As he continues to save her and help her, we realize that she is also saving him. R, develops a heartbeat and better speech, and we see him developing more human like mannerisms. At first he appears to be the only one heading towards restoration, until we meet M (another grunting sound name). M saves R and Julie from the skeletal zombies, in doing so we see an improvement in M as he also appears to understand that there is something changing in R and himself. As M walked mindlessly down a mall hallway he soon understood it all. On the TV was the same image of hand holding that Julie and R had shown him, and suddenly it appears very clear to M and the other zombies, that love softens the soul and makes the heart beat again. But the truth is that, unfortunately this is how humanity often plays out, the bible says many people are dead in sin (Romans 8:7) and continue to live out their lives apart from the saving work of Christ. We are to go out into the world and spread God’s love to them. We are to get to them before they harden their hearts; before there are any “zombies” and “bonies” out there.
If we are to continue with the idea that we need to spread God’s love in order to restore humanity then it would appear that when R “saves” Julie from the skeletal zombies at the end of the film, by holding her while they jump off a ledge into a pool below; that this is a form of sacrifice and furthermore, a baptism. R, a flesh eating monster, with no emotion, not only manages to feel love for a human, but also is willing to sacrifice his life in order to protect hers. R falls into the water with Julie and as he descends and rises out, his old self is washed away allowing him to emerge a fully restored human (this is further shown when he is shot and bleeds). I found this similar to the casting off the old Adam, “the old is gone and the new is here!” R is a new creation and now so are we (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now I also understand that there is something to be said about how this is the story of how, “he was dead inside until he met her”. It was near to impossible to find any images or videos of this movie that were not re-made to a cheesy love song or of anything other than R and Julie. However, there is a chance, that there is a lot more to this than a romantic-comedy/ gender issue analysis; hence my decision to leave this aspect out.
- Canavan, Gerry. “”We are the Walking Dead”: Race, Time and Survival in Zombie Narrative.” Extrapolation 51.3 (2010): 431-453. Print.
- Katz, Eric “The Big Lie” Readings in the Philosophy of Technology, 2009. 444-445
- McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print.