Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Review

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More often than not, when a film vies tirelessly for cult status, it fails miserably, as that contrivance nearly always works to a production’s detriment. But in Burr Steers’ deranged, resourceful reimagining of the renowned Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice, he’s struck a balance which allows for him to pull it off, remaining faithful to the ingenious Seth Grahame-Smith’s graphic novel, making for a far more accomplished and rewarding adaptation than the lacklustre Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

With a series of interweaving romances, we find ourselves caught up between entangled relationships and varying social classes. The characters we know and love so well are all present, from Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Lena Headey) to Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), and from Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) to Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston). Needless to say, we also spend a fair amount of time in the company of Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), too. Except there is one rather significant addition to this world, which is that zombies roam free – and in a similar vein to Shaun of the Dead, they’re more of a nuisance than anything more severe and imposing. But that said, they still need to be eradicated – and Elizabeth Bennet is more than up to the task.

Though you could certainly argue that there is an abundance of zombie movies and the last thing we need is yet another zombie movie – given the unique spin to this picture, it manages to find a place in a contemporary cinematic landscape. The way the antagonists are portrayed holds much comedic value and is unique too, while it just remains enjoyable to see how zombies fair in the 19th century, given we’re so used to seeing them navigate their way around a modern day setting. It’s also persistently fun, if somewhat forced at times, to hear aristocratic language used when our protagonist’s are fighting zombies. It’s like Downton with the undead.

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But Pride and Prejudice and Zombies works because Steers has got the tone spot on – managing to be tongue-in-cheek, but not to the point where he is devaluing the narrative; we remain invested and caught up in the romantic subplots. The director has ensured this title remains affectionately faithful enough to the original Austen novel to appease her fans, while there are enough zombies to appease genre fans. This should be able to pick up both audiences, which covers a fair bit of ground to say the least. Sense and Sensibility and Zombies next? Why not.

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