FILM REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Burr Steers, 2016)

Studying Pride and Prejudice in high school made me want to convulse on the floor, while the BBC miniseries made me want to poke my eyes out. It was something about Jennifer Ehle’s “oh ha ha ha aren’t I witty?” demeanour that made me really hate Elizabeth Bennet, one of the most treasured heroines in classic literature. And I never understood why Darcy was so revered when he really seemed like a bit of an uptight dick. The 2005 Keira Knightley-headed version was bearable, and I’m always open to a unique take on a traditional story. Enter Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The Bennet sisters are now trained in martial arts and shoot zombies’ brains out. How could it NOT be a vast improvement?

We're totally slaying this party.
We’re totally slaying this party.

You’d be forgiven for thinking, like me, that this would be a comedy. But while the film does occasionally provoke a few laughs by the very nature of zombies being inserted into such a story, it’s not even designed to be one. imdb lists the film’s genres as action, horror and romance. Are. You. For. Real? You can’t make this a serious thing. Shame on you Burr Steers, shame on you.

Things are gonna get freaky tonight.
Things are gonna get freaky tonight.

Lily James as Elizabeth is vastly more likable than Jennifer Ehle at least; unfortunately the same certainly cannot be said of Sam Riley as Darcy. Why he was even cast when he doesn’t provoke any kind of feeling whatsoever is unclear. The other Bennets aren’t particularly memorable, and it’s a mystery as to why they left massive bags visible under Jane’s eyes. She isn’t even a zombie! The saving grace of the cast is Matt Smith as Mr. Collins, although despite being the token ‘annoying drip’ character, his character still probably manages to be the biggest catch of the lot. I’ve talked before about how I feel about Douglas Booth’s face. (It’s not good).

Yuk and yuk.
Yuk and yuk.

There are jump scares here and there to keep it interesting, however it’s ultimately not that scary. There is never any sense of the main characters being in much danger given their superior reflexes, and we already know that no one in the original story dies. It’s a different take, and I preferred it to the original, but that’s not saying much.

3 stars

One thought on “FILM REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

  1. I haven’t read the original “Pride & Prejudice” or even seen the movie all the way through, so feelings for either shouldn’t get in the way of me enjoying this one. It’s puzzling that “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” doesn’t even try to be funny, with a premise like that there’s SO much opportunity for humor and silliness. The trailer sealed it, though… I’m going to watch this movie, even if the critics were lukewarm about it. Nice review.

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