by Genevieve Mc Bride
As a fan of the Pride and Prejudice book by Jane Austen, I thought it was all kinds of wrong when I came across the parody novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith, that essentially Austen’s classic novel with elements of modern zombie fiction. Mainly because I’m not a fan of horror movies. So as we approached the theater where we were screening Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I told my husband, “I really don’t want to watch this. I hate zombies.” He just laughed. “You hate zombies, but you watch Walking Dead. Just pretend it’s an episode of Walking dead. Just set in the Victorian era.” I admit, I do watch the Walking Dead but it’s the most stressful hour of television for me, and there are commercial breaks. This movie has a running time for this move was almost 2 hrs with no commercials.
But the movie got a giggle out of me in the first 5 minutes. And of course it made me gasp not long after. But Walking Dead has trained me well, and it wasn’t too long ago that I watched Hateful Eight, so I think I’m quite desensitized to blood and gore now, and in comparison, PPZ was relatively mild in that regard. It also had enough of the elements of the original story that fighting zombies actually became an entertaining digression. You know – beautiful young ladies, dashing young men, ballroom dancing, budding romance, zombie attack.
“To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things. Kind… well-read… and accomplished. But to survive in the world as WE know it, you’ll need… other qualities.” Those qualities include being skilled in the martial arts and weapons training, while wearing a corset –essentially making them Regency era bad-asses.
Because I don’t watch Downton Abbey, the last time I saw Lily James, who plays Elizabeth Bennett, she was brilliantly blond and sweetly keeping her promise to her mother to “have courage and be kind.” as Cinderella. In PPZ, she’s a fierce brunette who doesn’t take too kindly to Fitzsimmons Darcy, played by a sullen and haughty Sam Riley – another Disney alum, last seen as Diaval, Maleficent’s companion raven.
Where the Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy is won over by Elizbeth’s charm and wit, PPZ’s Darcy is slowly won over by Elizabeth’s aggressive and bold battle skills. Adding the alternate history of how zombies came to be a part of Regency era England hurried the story along, so the romantic developments felt a bit rushed, but Riley’s Darcy was quite believable in his reluctant but growing admiration of Elizabeth.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie, zombies and all. When you can get guys to cheer for some undead’s head getting blown off, and still make the ladies sigh for the romance, you have a pretty perfect date movie. It may very well be my favorite period costume romantic zombie action film.
3 out of 5
Second Review By Sasha Glenn
Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel by the same name, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is a quirky and dark parody of the classic Jane Austen novel “Pride and Prejudice.” In this story the women are not delicate, instead they are zombie killers with ninja-like fighting skills. Still set in the beautiful Victorian era, the film mixes elegance with comedy and horror.
On first glance the trailers for this film look pretty terrible, and the name will either perk curiosities or be met with disinterested laughter. Even a short description of the plot sounds cheesy. But don’t be too quick to shut down the idea. The film is actually quite enjoyable.
The ninja-like fighting that takes place is not too overdone, and the bits of romantic plot line are executed in a way that mocks the dating scene of a time that is often portrayed as stiff.
The film is not at all frightening, rather it’s a dark comedy. Don’t expect to be jumping out of your seat. That being said, the zombies are pretty wicked looking – some with half missing faces. They are a bit different than zombies in other stories. They can move pretty quickly and they can talk like regular people. A particularly cool and fairly unique scene includes a zombie baby. Another aspect that keeps this film from being another run-of-the mill zombie story is the incorporation of pig brains as a source of food for the zombies. A scene that is a bit nauseating depicts zombies feasting on harvested pig brains.
Adding another entertaining touch is the role of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, fierce zombie killer, played by “Game of Thrones” actress Lena Headey. She fits the role of pompous and callous ruler quite well, but it is even better seeing her perform this role in a comedy.
Director Burr Steers has done a great job keeping the film short. It lasts long enough to entertain and doesn’t try to do anything more than that.
The film is no epic masterpiece, but it doesn’t claim to be. It delivers exactly what it aims to – entertainment.
A delightfully horrific comedy, I give “Pride and Prejudice and Zombie” 2.5 out of 5 stars.