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?
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.
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).
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.