Australian Council on Children and the Media

Warm Bodies

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Not suitable under 13, not recommended under 15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes and themes; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Warm Bodies
  • a review of Warm Bodies completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 April 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, disturbing scenes and themes, and coarse language
Children 13-15 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and themes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Warm Bodies
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Horror themes, violence and infrequent coarse language
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Warm Bodies opens with a monologue from a young male zombie called “R” (Nicholas Hoult). We learn that a virus has infected the world, turning its inhabitants into flesh eating zombies. Although the newer zombies are human-like in appearance they lack all human emotions and are driven by the need to eat the brains of their human victims so as to gain their memories. Those who have been zombies for a longer period of time, referred to as Bonies, have a skeletal appearance and are more aggressive. “R” is an exception to the average zombie. He is rather introspective, collects all manner of paraphernalia and lives aboard an abandoned passenger jet at an airport inhabited by hundreds of zombies.  

Julie (Teresa Palmer) is a young human who lives with her father General Grigio (John Malkovich) and her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) in a city surrounded by a giant wall that keeps the human inhabitants safe from the zombies who roam around outside. One day Julie, Perry and a group of their friends are sent outside the city walls to search for medical supplies. R, his best friend M (Rod Corddry) and a group of zombies are out prowling the streets looking for human brains to eat when they run into Julie and her friends. Perry shoots at R who kills Perry and eats his brain.

R takes on some of Perry’s memories and feeling for Julie and decides that he has to protect Julie from the other zombies. He takes Julie back to the his plane and over the next few days they begin to form a friendship. R becomes more human as his friendship with Julie develops and other zombies who have contact with R and Julie also begin to change. Only the Bonies remain unchanged and continue to be a threat to humans, and to the transforming zombies.

If humans are to survive and the zombies are to become completely human, Julie must find a way to persuade her father that they are changing and that the humans must accept the changed zombies into their ranks so that they can together defeat the Bonies.     

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; zombies; cannibalism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Warm Bodies contains:  horror violence which at times is intense, the depiction of gruesome deaths including images of blood and gore images. Examples include:

  • All humans depicted in the film carry guns. 
  • A group of a dozen zombies attack a group of young human men and women with the humans shooting at the zombies. Some of the zombies overpower a number of the humans knocking them to the ground. We see one zombie biting a human on the neck (we see some blood) and another zombie biting a man on the arm (we see some blood flowing). The zombie then grabs the human by the head and bashes the head several times against a concrete floor. We see blood and hear the sounds of bone breaking, then see the zombie stuffing chunks of the dead man’s brain into his mouth and eating it. We see zombies with blood and gore splattered over their faces and copious amounts of blood dripping from and smeared over their mouths.
  • In a flashback scene Julie and Perry come across Perry’s father, who has turned into a zombie. He lunges towards Julie and Perry in a threatening manner.  Julie shoots him in the head (off screen) with Perry watching. 
  • One scene depicts dozens of Bonies crawling over a large glass skylight bashing on until they fall through and attack Julie and R with Julie shooting a Bonie in the head. A large group of the Bonies chase Julie and R.
  • Several scenes depict violent clashes between groups of Bonies, zombies and combined zombies and humans. Bonies are bludgeoned to death with metal poles and fire extinguishers. We see zombies punching, kicking and smashing the heads of Bonies until they are destroyed. Humans join the zombies in the fight and shoot the Bonies. Bonies jump on, and bite, humans and in one scene a human lies convulsing as he dies. 
  • R and Julie jump from a balcony into a pool in a desperate attempt to escape Bonies. Julies survives, but R lays motionless for a period of time until he wakes with a start. Julie’s father arrives and shoots R in the shoulder and we see R with a bloody shoulder and blood covering his hand and see blood spreading out into the pool water.  

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

As well as the violent scenes described above, Warm Bodies is full of scenes that are likely to disturb children including:

  • The zombies have deathly pale complexions with purple veins running down the sides of their faces and necks and blackened lips
  • The Bonies are skinless skeletal creatures covered in emaciated flesh and muscle. 
  • We see zombies with blood smeared over their faces and dribbling from their mouths and chins. In several scenes we see a zombie eating chunks of a brain and in one scene the zombie spits out the brain and we see the remains of small pieces of brains over his face. 
  • A zombie tears at the skin on his face and pulls off a large section of skin from the side of his face.
  • R smears blood and gore on Julie’s face to make her look like a zombie.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group will also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • BMW Roadster
  • Playstation Vita

Sexual references

The film contains infrequent low-level sexual references. Examples include:

  • While attempting to flirt with Julie, R comments to himself, “Need a different approach don’t be creepy”, and “Date’s not going well - want to die all over again”. 
  • After applying makeup to R to make him look more human we hear Julie’s friend Nora says “You look hot!”
  • Nora says to Julie “He could be your zombie boyfriend” and makes a suggestive reference to it being hard to get a boyfriend with it “being an apocalypse and all”. She tells Julie to “Have sweet dreams about your zombie”. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Flashback images of Julie and Perry kissing passionately
  • Brief scenes of Julie and R kissing passionately, holding hands and hugging
  • Young women wearing tight fitting and revealing clothes
  • In one scene Julie removes her jumper and jeans and we see a back view of her underwear and bra strap
  • One scene depicts R naked while having a shower - we see his bare back, chest, shoulders and arms.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A family drink wine at dinner
  • Julie drinks beer from a bottle

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name calling in this movie, including:

  •  “Jesus”,  “oh my god”, “who the hell”, “holy shit”, “bitch’s man”, “fuck”, “asshole”    

In a nutshell

Warm Bodies is a horror romance which is likely to be enjoyed by older adolescents. The film has been released in time for the school holidays and younger children may be attracted by the publicity and the attractive young stars, including Australian Teresa Palmer. Parents should be aware that the film is not suitable for under 13s and not recommended for 13-15s because of violence and disturbing scenes and themes. These include gruesome scenes of zombies attacking people and eating their brains.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Love is a powerful emotion that can change people and even the world.
  • People are capable of positive change and should be given a chance and shown acceptance when they try to change. 

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