Film Review – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Gossip and tea are replaced by martial arts in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Directed by Burr Steers

Starring Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Matt Smith, Douglas Booth

Review by Jordan

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains

Enjoyment of genre mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not based on preference for Austin’s examination of the coupling of wealthy British socialites or schlocky encounters of the undead, but rather the appeal, or lack thereof, of its straight-faced humour; taking a bite at classic literature while also respecting it’s more endearing qualities.

Seth Graham-Smith’s cult novel is presented by director Burr Steers as an unexpectedly faithful adaptation (though that term is used loosely) of the seminal story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, who just happen to meet in a country burdened by zombie infestation where if you’re not fashionable and forego traveling to Japan for your samurai training, you’re wise and head to the Shaolin temples of China. The unwavering and arrogant demeanour of the gravelly voiced and leather jacket-wearing Darcy (Riley) hints in no subtle manner at the often dry tone of what’s to come, while the Bennet sisters, led by the headstrong (and just generally strong) Elizabeth (James) and Jane (Heathcoat) offer more of a wink to the audience as they sheath their swords and knives and spar in the basement. The sometimes fleeting moments where everyday activities or outlets are adapted for this bleak and dangerous environment are among the funniest, with the sight of an English gentleman flailing his sword around a topiary garden at night, outside the window of his unattainable love’s room in frustration, in the place of nervously pacing being far funnier than it might sound.

The cast in general is strong, with Sally Phillips, Jack Huston and Lena Headey (instantly recognizable for her role in 300 and Game of Thrones) portraying supporting characters in an entertaining fashion, even if their roles are underwritten. Matt Smith though is the crowd pleaser, and for good reason. His Parson Collins is the atypical bumbling fool: wealthy and entitled but clumsy enough both physically and verbally to brighten the mood in any scene he stumbles into, with his habit of willingly accepting even the vaguest of compliments a trait that never wears thin.

This is what’s most appealing about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the apparent care that all involved seem to have to create something of more substance than its title suggests. While it is brought to treacherous earth by lack of excitement in the areas of action and horror, unoriginal choreography, blurry background CG environments and a lack of payoff other than that of the romantic variety, these are all trumped by the fact that the viewer is invited to have fun with this movie, and not given reason to decline. Even the opening credits are fetching, and it’s that attention to detail that elevates this above the zombie hoardes.

3 investigative flies out of 5

9 responses to “Film Review – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

  1. I had fun with it as well and was expecting to hate it being a huge Jane Austen fan. I think people have been a bit hard on it to be honest but I think people wanted more walking dead type movie and not something so campy and silly.

    • Yeah I don’t understand the negative reviews, it does seem like people had a predetermined idea of that this would be and wouldn’t accept anything else. I really had fun with it.

      • Like I get it not being everyone’s cup of tea but I dont think it should delve into worst of year territory

  2. Hey Jordan! 🙂 Oh, you’re absolutely right! This movie is really fun and entertaining!! And above all things, I found it quite refreshing! No more stereotypical zombie apocalypse flìcks!! Haha!! They should consider using this concept in more movies! Maybe something like… Shakespeare in Love and Zombies…I know YOU would looove that!!!!

    • Hey Maria!
      I’m glad you liked it too! It’s good fun and an easy watch. Haha it could star Bruce Campbell but I still don’t think I could being myself to watch it.. you’ve brought back painful memories of that winning Best Picture.

  3. Fun review! I’m going to raise my hand as being one who liked this one immensely for the sheer fun & entertainment it brought me. It was truly a fun 2 hrs spent in the cinema! 😀

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