Warm Bodies

120px-Film-stripThese days we need an excuse to get to the cinema, so with Valentine’s Day popping its ugly head over the Hallmark parapet we grabbed a nice dinner at the new ASK Italian then over the road to Cineworld to see the newest rom-zom-com:

Warm Bodies

“They’re not curing themselves. We’re their food source. They are not becoming  vegan.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: walking dead becomes walking slightly-less-undead when he falls for a survivor

See it if you like: Funny horror films, basically. And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

While Shaun of the Dead couldn’t really be held responsible for a “slew” of spin-off comedy zombie films, there have been a few kicking around over the last few years and the success of Pegg’s film is bound to have had some effect. This one is based on a novel and one I do want to read if it’s as good as its adaptation.

The tale definitely owes a nod to Romeo and Juliet as our “hero” zombie R (he can’t remember the rest of his name, played by Nicholas Hoult) hooks up with Julie (Teresa Palmer), a survivor of a plague that turned most of the world’s population into shambling brain-eaters. Those which go even further down the infected line lose all their skin and turn into skeleton-like “Bonies”. Fast-moving, fierce and not-very-well-CGI‘d, these are the real bad guys in this piece.

As well as this “stages of zombieness” idea is a nice twist where it’s explained why zombies eat brains in the first place. I won’t spoil it though!

It’s apparent from the start that “R” is a little different, holing up in an aircraft with a collection of stuff that makes him appear like a shambling WALL-E. A lot of the dialogue is voice-over material as we get to share his thoughts, a novel idea for a zombie flick where we normally assume that they don’t have any.

Soon enough, he rescues Julie and the two start to bond. She, of course, is the daughter of the leader of the anti-zombie forces (Grigio, played by John Malkovich) which is bound to cause some problems should she try to take her new boyfriend home to meet daddy.

The film follows their development as a couple, the changes it makes to “R” and also the other zombies. This is definitely not a fast-paced, taught zombie fest. This rom-zom-com focusses heavily on the “rom”, has novel ideas about the “zom” and manages very well with the “com”. The audience in the cinema (sold out) were very vocal with their laughter around a lot of the dialogue – deservedly so.

Simply, it’s a nice film. Not excessively gory, though the Bonies would likely give younger viewers a few nightmares. It doesn’t run too long, it’s a clever idea, the cast work well and the jokes don’t fall flat.

Gillian really liked it, I enjoyed it and we’d both recommend it.

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Review: The Sleep Room

The Sleep Room
The Sleep Room by F.R.Tallis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First up, just to say that I got this book for free after winning a competition on Tor’s facebook page. This won’t influence my review other than that I’d probably not have picked this particular book up on a whim, nor read it as quickly! It’s actually not due for release until May 2013, and it’s always nice to get something before everyone else.

The book’s set in the late 1950’s, predominantly in a psychiatric hospital in the middle of nowhere where experiments are taking place with new techniques to alleviate illness. Nothing particularly gory, but old-fashioned by our viewpoint today. It’s written in the first person from the point of view of a new staff member, Dr James Richardson, as he tried to unravel the mysteries surrounding the patients while getting on with his job (and getting off with one of the nursing staff).
Imagine something along the lines of Shutter Island for the feel of things. Not quite “Gothic”, but just that dark, historic feel.

The medical talk all sounds pretty convincing, and indeed in the acknowledgements quite a few professionals are credited. It’s surprising to realise that some of the techniques mentioned were still pretty commonplace towards the end of the last century – or at least well past the halfway mark.

As time progresses in his new job, “things” start to happen. Some explainable, others less so. The story gently strays from medical thriller into horror as the pages turn.

If I’m honest, I found the ending a little predictable but the story on the way there was always enjoyable with a couple of particularly spooky sequences that had me looking over my shoulder as I read on my own at 2am! The fact that I managed to get through the whole thing in a couple of days is a definite indication that I was engrossed.

Well written, well-paced and with good characters. I loved the language and the viewpoint of the protagonist, which I thought sat very well with the era in which the story was set.

As I said, not something I would have picked up myself but I’m very glad I ended up with it in my hands. If you like spooky horror rather than gross-out slash-fests, this could well be something you’d like.

View all my reviews

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I support the EDL!

The _real_ EDL!

That’s right. I’m fully behind the English Disco Lovers, a small organisation which has set out to undermine the English Defence League (a bunch of Neanderthal racists) by stealing their initials and – instead – promoting togetherness and harmony through the power of disco!

Their first aim was to gain more “likes” on Facebook than the knuckle-draggers, something they succeeded in doing today. Pretty impressive given that they only set up the facebook page around the new year. At the time of writing, Disco is winning on the “likes” with 18,075 against the low-lifes’ paltry 15,112 or 18,050 depending on which if their two pages you look at. The latter, with the higher score, is a Wikipedia page whereas the former is the “active / official” one.

Anything that gives racists (especially those with very dodgy criminal records) one in the eye is worth supporting, especially when it’s done with no real malice, a sense of humour and D-I-S-C-O!

For more information, check out the real EDL’s page 😉 With luck, the more links and the more clicks, the higher up Google’s rankings they’ll get as well!

UPDATE (6th Feb): There is an EDL (skinhead bottomfeeder version) “community” on facebook as well, with around 38,605 likes. EDL (disco) has 19,982 as I write this. Get liking!

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