The tough decision between a meal and a relationship
Loves: Creative genre films
Likes: Zombie stories, Jonathan Levine
Dislikes: Movies lacking in subtlety
Hates: The Twilight franchise, formula movie-making
Our hero is R (Nicholas Hoult, X-Men: First Class), a shambling zombie wandering an airport aimlessly. Via internal monologue, it's clear he's got a bit more going on upstairs than the other zombies who inhabit the post-infection world, but he's still just walking around seeking to feed on the remaining living. However, when he meets Julie (Theresa Palmer, I am Number Four), just after eating her boyfriend's brains, he finds himself more interested in her heart, and takes her captive. Though at first terrified by a creature she's spent her adult life battling for survival, eventually they get to know each other a bit, and R seems to be becoming more human. There are still plenty of dangers in the world for both of them, but they are willing to give it a try to make it work.
As good as the leads are, the supporting cast is just as great, with Corddry getting laughs with a monosyllabic vocabulary, and Analeigh Tipton (the memorable Jessica from Crazy, Stupid Love) stealing scenes as Julie's best friend. However, they had their work cut out for them, simply by sharing the same film with John Malkovich, who plays the head of the human resistance. He doesn't have the deepest part in the history of his acting career, but, as usual, he's just magnetic whenever he's on the screen, and his presence raises the bar and lends some gravitas to the film's most lesser-known cast. But no one captures eyeballs the way the boneys do. The creepiest of the undead, these skeletal baddies keep things dark and scary, even if they do move in a way that's more than a bit reminiscent of Ray Harryhausen's skeleton warriors. Putting together romance, laughs, action and scares in a single film is no easy task, but Levine and company do it without giving short shrift to any one part, and manages to keep things flowing without any obvious speedbumps, resulting in a fun fairytale that offers something for just about everyone.
Getting a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track was a bit of a surprise, as most viewers wouldn't think audio bombast when it comes to a zombie romance, however there's a good amount of action in the film that gives the surround speakers plenty of material to work with. There's also a fine soundtrack and some nice atmospheric effects, especially the rain, which make for an engaging presentation. Dialogue is clear and clean, and the bass has a nice impact where implemented. Overall, it's an excellent presentation that really helps put you right in the mix in this post-apocalyptic world.
The disc is loaded with featurettes, nine in all, covering various aspects of the production, with all nine entries sharing the same title sequence style, making for a cohesive feel. Up first is "Boy Meets, Er, Doesn't Eat Girl" (Novel and Movie Development), which runs 9:44. Featuring interviews with producers, Levine and the novel's author Marion, this piece talks about how the novel was discovered and optioned before it was published, and how it was developed into a film by Levine. It's an interesting angle on the origin of a film, and the story is told very well. It's followed by "R&J" (Nick and Theresa) (16:21), a look at the two lead actors and characters, with an emphasis on the romance in the movie. Meanwhile, "A Little Less Dead" (The Acting Ensemble) (16:41) spreads the spotlight around a bit more, focusing on the casting process that filled out the roster, and giving Corddry carte blanche to be hysterical, as he jokes for the on-set cameras.
"Extreme Zombie Makeover!" (Make-Up Effects) (10:11) starts to get into the technical elements of the production, talking with Oscar-nominated FX artist Adrien Morot, who provided the excellent make-up design on the film, and showing much of the process via time-lapse photography, while "Beware the Boneys" (Visual Effects) (7:04) discovers the techniques used to create the movie's disturbing villains. Then, the film's impressive production design is covered in "A Wreck in Progress" (Production Design and Montreal) (14:59) which explores the abandoned airport that serves as the film's core set and the work that went into turning Montreal into the world of zombies.
The gun and combat training that the cast did is the focus of "Bustin Caps" (Weapons/Stunts) (10:09), which is fun thanks to the cast's enthusiasm for firearms, including Palmer, who provides 12:38 of home movies from the set in "Whimsical Sweetness." Though a bit nausea-inducing thanks to the rapid movement of her FlipCam, its silly and fun, and you get plenty of her dog to enjoy. There's more silliness in the 4:43 "Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry," an episode of the Screen Junkies' YouTube series (which leaves the show's YouTube-specific ending in place.) Again, Corddry is hilarious, a fact proven true in the 5:07 "Shrug & Groan Gag Reel," which catches the actors breaking, often thanks to Corddry, along with several pranks from the set.
Nine deleted scenes (11:11) are available to check out, with optional commentary from Levine, who does it the right way, talking a bit about what's in the scene and, most importantly, why it was cut from the film. The scenes, a few of which are alternate cuts, don't add a lot to the movie, and were smartly removed/replaced in the final cut.
The extras wrap with the film's theatrical trailer (the far-too-revealing one) and other Lionsgate trailers, along with a code to download a digital copy and an Ultraviolet stream.
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