Featuring a talented, mostly younger British cast of actors that I truly like and admire, I must admit I have been looking forward to this take on Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up of “Pride and Predjudice and Zombies” for some time now. And yes, it delivers – if of course what you are looking for is a sure-fun little take on an iconic story. Here the zombie apocalypse has landed in the middle of Austen’s prim and proper story, including the now-famous attraction between Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley).
Anyone expecting the seriousness of Ms. Austen’s 1813 novel will be disappointed ~ hence the title should have provided a pretty solid hint of that to most. While her characters and general story line act as a structure here, I expect most critics to destroy this one because it’s made simply for fun, not for art.
Of course, any Pride and Prejudice spin-off ~ even one with zombies ~ must pay meticulous homage to Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. In this versions, it turns out that Elizabeth and her four sisters are highly trained warriors raised to survive and fight against the undead. Mr. Darcy is billed as a zombie hunter and protector of Mr. Bingley, the rich bachelor hooked on Jane Bennett. We follow suit on the original story as things are still made topsy-turvy by the devious Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and especially the flamboyant Parson Collins. The interactions between the characters juggle between loyalty, romantic attraction, emotional chaos and hand-to-hand combat – with just enough comedic elements that most viewers will find plenty of opportunities to get some good laughs in. Make no mistake though, this is no ‘Walking Dead’ rip-off and it’s nowhere near as gory with it’s details.
And yes, this talented cast is all in. They play it mostly straight to achieve the balance between somber and silly. Lily James and Sam Riley again, are both fun to watch as Elizabeth and Darcy. They are the film’s best fighters with both swords and words. Jane (Bella Heathcoate) is “the pretty one”, who is wooed by the simply stunning Douglas Booth as Mr. Bingley.
Lena Headey makes an impression in her limited screen time as an eye-patched Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Jack Huston is well cast as the devious Mr. Wickham. Screen veterans Charles Dance and Sally Phillips take on the role of parents to the five Bennett daughters, but it’s Matt Smith, who turns the film fun with his comedic timing and his unconventional twist on the oddball Parson Collins, who pretty much steals each of his scenes.
Even though this entertaining film offers plenty of fun with laughs, action and romance, I am hoping it doesn’t kick off a new zombie-adaptation trend as that would truly get annoying and mundane. Personally, I just like to be entertained, even sometimes in the silliest ways like this film did for me.
Nationwide release on Friday, February 5, 2016
9 thoughts on “REVIEW: “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES” (2016) Lionsgate”
Nice review! This was such a great adventure. I loved the cast and the story was a great mash-up with the zombie apocalypse. It had a good balance of romance and action too. I can’t wait to see it again.
Thanks Katy.. how can you not just love that this is just plain fun entertainment.. 😀
Great review 🙂 I have not seen this yet, but I think this film should be doing what the upcoming Deadpool is going to be doing? In other words, go for that R-rating. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies suffers from that PG-13. I know I should not be comparing a mash-up that involves a piece of classic literature with a superhero movie and no I am not implying that going for an R would have made it a better movie, but at least it would have embraced it’s anarchy a little more clearly. Remember when Paul Verhoeven directed the R-rated Robocop from 1987. That worked because it embraced it’s anarchy. I can not comment on Pride and Prejudice Zombies because I have not seen it, but it is clear that this film is not embracing what I just said it should be. Either way, keep up the great work as always and I love reading your blog as always too 🙂
Thanks.. I actually liked the fact there was no hard-core violence and gore and that they stuck with the premise of what the Pride and Prejudice storyline is about..with a fun twist.. this is def. a fun film.. Deadpool is a whole different ballgame and while my review is coming shortly on that one..it’s completely apples & oranges…you can’t compare them at all.
Hi Peggy. Awww only C+? I ended up enjoying this immensely, perhaps thanks to Sam Riley’s portrayal of bad-ass Darcy 😉 I just posted my review, I’d love for you to check it out so we can compare notes. I do agree though I hope this won’t set out a zombie-adaptation trend as I’m actually not a fan of zombie movies, but I do love Austen and the core story remains intact in this crazy mashup.
I did love it Ruth..as I noted..and a C+ is a high-rating..it’s above average.. but it’s not going into Oscar territory or anything like that..so I def. give it high marks.. I have a grading scale that goes: A = OSCAR-WORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE; C = AVERAGE; D = NOT RECOMMENDED; F = SKIP IT ENTIRELY (+ OR – GIVES IT AN EDGE UP OR DOWN) and I just thought it was flat out good entertaining FUN!! 😀
Ah ok, thanks for explaining your rating. I guess I was rather bewitched by Riley’s Darcy that I was quite generous w/ my rating, but the more I think about it the more I love it 🙂
oh.. that Sam Riley.. just does it for me everytime..but yeah I try to grade on the movie as a whole.. I really did like it!!
Excellent review. Haven’t seen this yet, but I will at some point because it sounds fun. To your point, I didn’t think The Walking Dead when I first heard the title. I thought Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. This sounds like it’s along those same lines.