If there’s something strange, in your country estate, who you gonna call? Zombie slayers. Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody novel of the legendary Austen classic is a mashup of romance, comedy, and of course, the undead brain-eaters. If it seems an utterly ridiculous choice of novel to give the big screen treatment that’s because it is. To say otherwise would be to entirely fool yourself. The rather self-explanatory nature of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one of its best features; you know you are going to get some pride, a dash of prejudice, and a militia of zombies, and that’s all you can really ask for.
Taking a bite out of Austen’s original plot, the film centres on the Bennet sisters who are caught in an undead epidemic in Regency era England, where a plague has turned local aristocrats into carnivorous cretins. Trying to maintain the line of defence against this disease is legendary slayer Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), who visits stately homes and executes anyone who shows symptoms, by using his trusty flies. In this alternate universe, the sword-wielding Bennet sisters, headed up by Elizabeth (Lily James), are trained martial artists who are adept in all manners of combat. Charles Dance and Lena Headey also star as Mr. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, respectively.
After being whisked off her feet in Cinderella, Lily James is firmly grounded as ‘Lizzie’, the feistiest of all the sisters, who prides herself on her warrior abilities. James is the bad-ass, knife slashing, zombie-kicking heroine you didn’t even know you needed in your life, until now. Commanding attention on screen, but still able to roll with the cheeky humour, James is effortless in her performance alongside Riley.
Reassuringly not ashamed of its premise, the film benefits from its self-knowingness, with subtle in jokes to Austen’s novel, as well as killer dialogue. Comedy is at the essence of the piece, and Matt Smith as Parson Collins is undeniably entertaining. Truly immersing himself in this role – and clearly loving every minute of it – he takes absolute pleasure in every overrated and exaggerated gesture and enunciation, garnering plenty of laughs. Ultimately, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is such a kooky mash-up of B-movie horror and classic literature that, once you get past the premise, you can’t help but love it, even if it does leave you with an unquenchable thirst for more eye-patched Lena Headey.
Is it worth watching?
+ Bloody Good
+ Interesting mash-up
– Needs more Headey
Dying for something different? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has the cure.
Watch the trailer for Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
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