By Emily Maier - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies depicts 19th century life plagued not only by classism, but by the undead as well. To combat these foes, the film unveils Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), an independent young woman proficient in the art of zombie slaying. As she fights alongside Darcy (Sam Riley), they gradually learn to let down their walls of bias and vanity in order to fight against a common enemy.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the comedy horror adaptation to Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel of the same name. Like the title suggests, Seth’s book is a parody to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, written in 1813. The movie did embellish quite a bit to formulate the plot – even when compared to Seth Grahame-Smith’s version of the book – but at the center of the film is still the skeleton of Jane Austen’s work. Even though the original themes start to get muddled due to all the additional components, the movie still manages to criticize the time period’s ideas surrounding gender relations and social classes.
I’ve been in love with Seth Grahame-Smith’s work since 2012, ever since I first saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s my all-time favorite guilty pleasure, so I was hopeful I’d find another movie I could indulge in with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Upon leaving the theater, I wasn’t too let down. The movie was much stranger than I was expecting – which says a lot, considering that I was already expecting Seth Grahame-Smith’s brand of weird. All in all, it’s hard to review Pride and Prejudice and Zombies seriously because the movie wasn’t meant to be viewed seriously.
A big selling point was the entertaining cast, including Lily James (Cinderella), Sam Riley (Maleficent), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Matt Smith. Sam Riley was especially fitting as the broody Mr. Darcy, and Matt Smith added necessary humor whenever the film grew too stony-faced.
I was ultimately disappointed with the gore factor. Though there was action throughout, the scenes were brief and largely spread apart. There were a couple instances that made me jump, and while a few zombies were particularly grotesque, the film didn’t dabble too much within the horror genre. After all, the movie is still based on a romance novel, so I’m not quite sure what more I was expecting.
Unfortunately, the film seems to have caught a limited audience, which is understandable, considering there’s not much overlap between Jane Austen readers and zombie fanatics. But for the right person, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a fun ride that offers an original twist on a classic tale.