Pride And Prejudice And Zombies(2016)
- RatedNC16 /GenreComedy, Horror, Romance
The book ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ by Seth Grahame-Smith was a runaway hit when it first published, generating numerous follow-ups that mashed up Jane Austen's books with horror tropes.
Despite the mess done to the adaptation of Grahame-Smith's first period-horror mash-up novel ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’, which was a humourless and dull affair, the rights to ‘Zombies’ were quickly snapped up and the film adaptation has finally arrived.
Thankfully, this movie is so much better, even if it's a beast being pulled in two separate directions.
The setup is mildly amusing, but the two very disparate elements never congeal or quite make sense and director Burr Steers settles to focus on the Austen portions rather than the zombie elements.
It's best to sit back and enjoy it, particularly since the cast seems to take the proceedings very seriously and do their best to make you think you're watching a serious affair.
After an animated sequence narrating how a zombie outbreak has taken over England, we cut to Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley) uncovering a zombie at a whist party. Apparently zombies can hide amongst humans for a while before they start hungering for brains.
The focus then shifts to the Bennet family. Mr. Bennet (Charles Dance) has trained his six daughters in the art of zombie combat, but just as important as fending off the undead is their ability to attract suitors, particularly for eldest daughter Jane (Bella Heathcote).
Second daughter Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), the film's main character is not so easy to marry off. Hot headed and determined to make her own decisions, she is also trained by Shaolin martial art masters.
Elizabeth runs into Darcy, and the two start a smouldering relationship, complicated by the arrival of Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston), as if the zombies weren't enough.
Elizabeth and Darcy try to find love in a zombie-infested place, and find familial approval and customs just as difficult to overcome as brain-eating undead.
It's no fault of the cast that the film falters. Lily James is great as Lizzy and conveys a character that's both delicate and spunky. Sam Riley won't make anyone forget Colin Firth, but tries his best to capture the stiff and brooding Darcy.
But it's undoubtedly the former 'Doctor Who' Matt Smith, a possible suitor for the Bennet girls, who steals the show and saves the movie. Smith retains his impish charm from the ‘Doctor Who’ series here, and darts about trying his best to win the affections of the Bennet girls. Sally Philips, who plays Mrs. Bennet, is also a standout, providing much-needed comic relief with her well-timed one-liners.
The movie never really integrates the romance with the supernatural elements, and it often seems like a one-joke idea that goes on for too long.
There is also a lack of internal consistency. Why do the Bennets eagerly send Jane alone on horseback to visit her suitor, knowing that there are zombies roaming the countryside?
There's also an orphanage with zombies near to the areas which are supposedly zombie-free, which seems quite odd It seems that quite a few plot threads are not resolved, and the action scenes are shot in such a way as to hide any real martial arts prowess by the actors.
You might want to stay for the end credits if you're interested in a sequel. If not, we suggest you head out of the cinema.
Fans of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ would be better off re-examining the copious adaptations while zombie fans should avoid this altogether.
Otherwise, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is a mashup that sounds interesting at first but is otherwise just forgettable.