If you’ve always felt that early 19th-century literary works and their film adaptations do not feature quite enough monsters, then Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the film for you. It’s a dramedy/horror mash-up that is sure to have legendary author Jane Austen turning in her grave, clawing her way to the surface and taking a big bite out of your brain.
Based on the bestselling book of the same title, written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) with a co-author credit for Austen, this story mixes good manners with ghouls and portrays the delightful Bennet sisters as being concerned with both martial and marital arts – equally ready for an undead uprising or a debutante ball.
A zombie plague has arrived in England, though its citizens seem to go on about their daily lives, dealing with the undead as if they were only an inconvenience. You see, the Pride and Prejudice zombies are of a higher class than most, and they retain some class and dignity by eating pig brains, rather than human organs, which allows them to maintain their aristocratic air and intelligence.
Zombie purists may take issue with P+P+Z zombies’ ability to think, speak, run and fight – not to mention their trapping skills – but in the context of this unorthodox movie I felt they worked perfectly fine.
Last year’s Cinderella star, the lovely Lily James, plays pretty Elizabeth Bennet. She’s smart, witty and deadly, having been trained (along with her sisters) in the Chinese arts of self-defense and weaponry. These ladies are all prim and proper until it becomes quite necessary to kick some reanimated arse.
The best part of the film happens early on when the Bennet sisters are showcased in a slow-motion entrance, unveiling their weapons and womanly wiles before laying waste to a zombie horde. This sequence alone is worth the price of admission and is sure to put a smile on your face.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies also features pop culture favorites like Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) as Mr. Bennet; Lena Headey (also from Game of Thrones) as the heroic Lady Catherine de Bourgh; and Matt Smith (Doctor Who) as Parson Collins, who provides many of the movie’s comedic moments.
Whether you are a well-read Jane Austen fan or an unsophisticated undead-enthusiast, there is a lot of goofy, cheesy fun to be had with this film – as long as you check your prudish pride at the door. Grade: 7/10
Photos © 2016 Sony Pictures Entertainment