A literary classic combined with zombies seems a bit out there. As a dedicated fan of Pride and Prejudice, I felt like combining the two was on the same level as vandalizing a precious piece of art. It was just wrong on every level. A timeless English romance mixed with the undead appears on the surface to be the worst premise in which to create a film. I was wrong.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was nothing what I thought it was going to be. It was a balanced mix of romance, comedy, and zombies. Now as odd as that may sound, it makes for an entertaining movie. This isn’t the Pride and Prejudice fans know from previous books or movies.
The film retained pieces of the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and the zombie version by Seth Grahame-Smith, but took the story in a whole new direction. This unique direction brought new life to the original story. What fans love about the main characters was kept all the while getting an update in the form of fighting skills. By making the zombie outbreak more of the focus, the story could evolve past its traditional beginnings. It also provided the opportunity to reduce the role of and remove some of the bit characters thus speeding up the tale.
The faster pace and action sequences could have overwhelmed the love story of Elizabeth and Darcy, but it instead showed it grow in a different way. Also, the comedic tone of the film made some of the despicable characters pure entertainment. Matt Smith’s portrayal of Mr. Collins was hysterical. I’ve hated Mr. Collins since the first time I read the book and with this movie he became my favorite character. Lena Heady as Lady Catherine and Charles Dance as Mr. Bennet, both from Game of Thrones, had me wishing they were in more scenes with their performances. Lily James was marvelous as the strong, butt-kicking zombie warrior, Elizabeth Bennet. Finally, Sam Riley, who I loved in Maleficent, created a Mr. Darcy for a new generation.
To date, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has struggled at the box office. I think part of the problem is that people aren’t sure what the expect and don’t want to risk wasting their money. Even having read both books, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but I’m glad I took the chance and saw it. It isn’t a typical zombie horror film. This film is more like Shaun of the Dead, Dale and Tucker vs. Evil, and Zombieland. I found it to be a fun date movie and hope more people take the opportunity to see it. Romance, action, and zombies all in one movie now sounds like a perfect mix to me.