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arts & culture ■ 19 

" gateway ■ wmtHEG«tEW»miH£a » Volume 103, Issue 19 


Warm Bodies 

ADAP1ED BY Jonathan Levine 
DIRECTED BY [onaihan Levine 
STARRING Nicholas Iloull. Teresa 
Palmer, Folio Malkovich. 
Dave Franco and 

WHEN In 1 heal res Friday, 

Feb, 1 

Ryan Stephens 


The teen romance genre has spent 
the better part of the last decade in¬ 
filtrating what appears to be its polar 
opposite: the monster movie. And 
after flirting with vampires and were¬ 
wolves, teen fiction has made its inev¬ 
itable move to zombies with the film 
Warm Bodies, creating an insightful 
and philosophical blend of two very 
different genres while raising the bar 
for the future of both horror movies 
Eurd romantic comedies. 

maintaining the personality of a mod¬ 
ern-day self-depreciating teenager. 
While out scouting for supplies, Julie 
crosses paths with R and his group 
of zombies, who immediately attack. 
When Julie and R's eyes meet through 
the bloodshed, it's love at first sight 
for R, causing him to fight against his 
instincts to keep Julie safe. 

Atypical of both the romance and 
horror genres. Warm Bodies prides 
itself on a lack of backstory. We're 
told very little about what caused the 
outbreak or even about the lives of 
the main characters — but this works 
in the movie's favour. We're not en¬ 
cumbered with the drama of broken 
families or the necessity of finding a 
rare for mankind. The characters are 
simply left alone to establish their ec¬ 
centricities in a dating game made 
even more awkward by the fact that 
one of the lovebirds is dead. Although 
that very premise seems absurd, it 
plays out with such heart that even 
the biggest killjoy will find the grow¬ 
ing affection believable, a testament 
to the strong writing and increasing 
strength of Hoult and Palmer's per¬ 

allowing us to forget about his decay¬ 
ing skin and lurching gaitto focus on 
the legitimate and convincing feel¬ 
ings within. 

Perhaps the most exhilarating 
aspect of Warm Bodies is how it al¬ 
lows horror and romance to pull un¬ 
expected philosophical ideas out of 
each other, rather than simply mash¬ 
ing them together half-heartedly. 
Themes of hope and memory give the 
film emotional weight all too uncom¬ 
mon in monster movies. R can't re¬ 
member the details of his life before 
death, though the act of eating brains 
provides him with the ability to ex¬ 
perience and digest others' thoughts 
ingrained in the pink matter. This vi¬ 
carious experience provides him with 
an emotional oudet that he wouldn't 
be able to achieve otherwise. As R 
notes early on. zombies don’t sleep, 
therefore they're unable to dream. 

In exploring this relationship be¬ 
tween the biological and spiritual 
worlds, the movie asks the existen¬ 
tialist in all of us to consider the revi¬ 
talizing nature of our own memories, 
which we often take for granted and 

Warm Bodies blurs the line 
between romance and horror 

This bizarre love story is set in an 
alternate time in which humankind 
has been annihilated by a zombie 


Since this is first and foremost a 
teen love story, some of the genre's 

shove back into our subconscious in 
favour of the brain-consuming ten¬ 
dency to focus only on our present 

GATEWAY: Describe what you’re wearing. 

MIKE'- I'm wearing wool pants (and) I have a suit jacket 

apocalypse of unknown origin, leav¬ 
ing the few remaining humans to 
retreat behind a giant wall in a name¬ 
less American metropolis. On one 
side, the story focuses on Julie (Te¬ 
resa Palmer) as she butts heads with 
her overbearing father (John Malk¬ 
ovich) and non-committal boyfriend 
(Dave Franco). On the other side of 

cheesiest cliches are in full force in 
Warm Bodies. R, who was obviously a 
hipster when he was alive, utilizes his 
aimless wandering to gather collect¬ 
ibles — from quirky ornaments to vi¬ 
nyl records to horror Blu-rays — and 
bring them to his pad: an abandoned 
airplane. When asked why he col¬ 
lects vinyl, he even manages to moan. 


As with the explosion of the Twi¬ 
light series, conversation will inevi¬ 
tably turn towards the death of yet 
another classic monster. But Warm 
Bodies' romantic screenplay asks 
deep philosophical questions about 
what we take for granted in our sadly 
distracted lives. Sometimes, it takes 

that goes with them, a cobalt blue top and a scarf I knit 

GATEWAY: How do you stay warm in the winter? 

MIKE: Lots and lots of layers. (I’m wearing) a sweater, 
a shirt, an undershirt, the scarf and I have a sweater 
back in the lab. 

the wall, teenage zombie R (Nicho- “Better sound." Oddly, it's pretentious some cliched romance to encourage 
las Hoult) wanders aimlessly, mostly quips like this that make the zombie us to wake up from our daily undead 
consumed by zombification but romance so lively and humanistic, fugue and learn to live again. 


Ra Ra Riot 

Beta Love 

Arts & Crafts 

Adela Czyzewska 


Ra Ra Riot’s latest album. Beta Love, 
signifies a dramatic change for the 
band and fans alike. A follow-up to 
their 2012 album The Orchard, Beta 
Love finds the group a little more 
sparse in the wake of the departure 
of cellist Alexandra Lawn, and also 
marks a shiftfrom indie baroque pop 
to electronic synth pop — a change 
that mostly works in their favour. 

Beta Love manifests a weird 

combination of robotic autotune 
and nostalgic ‘80s synth pop beats 
fused with classical strings. However 
strange the sound, this combination 
generates feel-good, foot-tapping 
tracks that grow on you the more 
you listen. It may be difficult for Ra 
Ra Riot fans to adjust to the synthe¬ 
sizers and change in style, but credit 
should be given where credit is due. 

Frontman Wes Miles showcases a 

serious range in vocals as well — one 
of the album's strongest points — 
and expertly displays his high falset¬ 
to on tracks like “When I Dream" and 
"Beta Love." The band still makes 
use of classical string instruments 
towards the end of songs like “Is It 
Too Much," though the instruments 
aren’t as evident as on previous 

The digital effects paired with 
hand claps and guitar riffs make for 
a great dance album that imitates 
the effect of being trapped in a retro 
computer game and a cheesy '80s 
flick. Overall, it may not be an excep¬ 
tionally memorable album, but Beta 
Lovedisplaysthe band's capability to 
successfully experiment with new 
genres and styles while providing 
an upbeat soundtrack that deserves 
a listen.