“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” review

While “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” sounds ridiculous at first, it is fascinating to watch a Jane Austen classic so intricately interwoven with the zombie genre. Zombies are all the rage right now so the film is an appropriate adaptation for today.

Review by ChinLin Pan

Based on the popular book of the same title by Seth Grahame-Smith, the Burr Steers-directed horror romance brings to life the story of “Pride and Prejudice” combined with a zombie storyline. 19th century England faces an outbreak of zombies, which forces Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) to set aside their differences and team up to fight. The film also stars Matt Smith, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Suki Waterhouse, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, and Sally Phillips.

From left to right: Ellie Bamber as Lydia Bennet, Bella Heathcote as Jane Bennet, Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, Millie Brady as Mary Bennet, and Suki Waterhouse as Kitty Bennet / Screen Gems

From left to right: Ellie Bamber as Lydia Bennet, Bella Heathcote as Jane Bennet, Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, Millie Brady as Mary Bennet, and Suki Waterhouse as Kitty Bennet / Screen Gems

Lily James starred as Cinderella in Disney’s live-action adaptation last year and now she’s taken up the reigns of another literary character, badass heroine Elizabeth Bennet. James shined throughout the film, and I especially loved the scene where she and her sisters–skilled warriors–fight zombies at the ball, thus showing society what they’re made of.

Sam Riley stars in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" as zombie expert Mr. Darcy. / Screen Gems

Sam Riley stars in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” as zombie expert Mr. Darcy. / Screen Gems

And we all have a favorite Mr. Darcy. Mine was Matthew Macfadyen from Joe Wright’s 2005 “Pride & Prejudice.” But, since watching this film, I’m officially a Sam Riley fan. His portrayal of the snobby, zombie-ass-kicking Mr. Darcy won me over. Even after watching the film, I am left swooning. Together, Riley and James are a stellar match.

Also, I must acknowledge the stupendous performance from Matt Smith, as he proved himself to be the ultimate comic relief as Mr. Collins. In every scene Smith graced his presence with, he showed well-executed, bumbling humor and ignorance.

“Game of Thrones” stars Lena Headey and Charles Dance played minor roles as Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Mr. Bennet, respectively. As a fellow “Game of Thrones” fan, I was terribly disappointed to see just the few scenes these superb actors had. While the characters they played were supporting ones, I felt their talents were largely underutilized.

Lily James and Bella Heathcote kick ass in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." / Screen Gems

Lily James and Bella Heathcote slay zombies in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” / Screen Gems

Director/writer Burr Steers, known for “Igby Goes Down” and “Charlie St. Cloud,” remains true to Austen’s original dialogue and Seth Grahame-Smith’s twist on the tale. Steers’ use of point-of-view from the zombies’ perspective was a clever one, especially in the opening sequence.

The pacing of the film is quick, mostly because of the action sprinkled throughout that pushes it along. There’s plenty of sass and humor through snarkily delivered lines, and the overall tone is a mix of gravity and lightheartedness. Though, something for zombie fans to note, the violence and gore remains toned down, as the film is rated PG-13.

The hybrid-genre of the film is hilariously fun and entertaining, whether you’re a romance junkie or a zombie fan. It’s a great film for a date night with your significant other (perfectly timed as Valentine’s Day is next weekend) or for a night out with your gal pals. As soon as the film ended, I found myself wanting to watch it again. I’d gladly call “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” my new not-so-guilty pleasure.

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