Director: Burr Steers
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley & Jack Huston
Synopsis: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing polulation of zombies.
Rating: 15 Duration: 107 minutes Release date: 27 June (UK)
Zombies, bloody zombies. The un-dead are everywhere right now. From books, to TV shows, to films and the person next to you on the bus, the zombie apocalypse feels like a very real thing these days. The horror sub-genre has come a long way since its popular inception in 1968 with George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, so much so that they are now invading other forms of culture to form some of the most inexplicable crossovers in recent memory.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one such example. The 2009 novel of the same name retells Jane Austen’s original novel of society, manners and love and replaces them with society, manners, love and zombies. Without doubt, this take on one of the most popular books of all time is a parody looking to inject something different into its decades old tale. Much like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies delivers mixed results, but whether it’s the addition of zombies or some much needed fun, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies mysteriously works.
Placing zombies into the world created by Jane Austen may seem crude to many a viewer, but there is something to be admired by anyone with the balls to even attempt such a thing. Director Burr Steers adapts Seth Grahame-Smiths novel and keeps things breezy, while the highly capable cast manage to keep a straight face in among all the beheading and devouring of brains.
Despite a strong cast and some quite funny moments, there is an overbearing sense that the film is muddling through events at times and the mythology of the film is mixed up in its own ideology. The use of carrion flies to determine if someone is a zombie is a very helpful tool in an age lacking in technology, but isn’t used at the most useful of times. On the subject of determining a zombie, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes the route that zombies are an already established part of this world, but also have the ability to talk and appear far from dead. Used as a disguise, this development will likely displease the traditionalists out there who prefer their zombies to be slow and bumbling.
Despite the film being patchy and unable to decide on some of its more pertinent matters, its cast are the gel that keep it together. Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet heads a likeable cast who do really seem to be having a lot of fun with this offbeat concept. Sam Riley is capable as the newest iteration of Mr Darcy. Charles Dance and Sally Phillips are appealing as Mr and Mrs Bennet while Lena Headey adds a touch more female bad assery as Lady de Bourgh, a highly skilled zombie killer. Matt Smith steals every scene as Parson Collins and clearly enjoys his role as he gladly makes a fool of himself throughout the film.
It’s not easy to pin down Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for either audience. Die hard fans of the Jane Austen novel will baulk at the very idea of adding the un-dead into proceedings, while hardcore zombie fans will be displeased at the treatment of the reanimated army on show here. Instead, anyone’s enjoyment will come if you are prepared to settle for something in the middle; a film that takes neither element too seriously and settles for a limited film but one that can be enjoyed nonetheless.
- Gag reel
- Deleted scenes
- Creating the Umentionables – looking at the creative team who designed the 19th centry zombies featured in the film.
- From Austen to Zombies- takes a look at adapting both the Jane Austen original novel and Seth Grahame-Smith’s zombie drama.
- Mr. Collins Line-O-Rama – Matt Smith’s funniest lines from the film put together.
- The Bad Ass Bennet Sisters – Depicts the training regime of the five actresses who play the Bennet sisters and what it took to perform the various stunts.
- Courtship, Class and Carnage – A profile of the cast as each talks about the film and their various roles.