ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

This movie is neither the best horror movie, nor the best romantic drama. But it's an entertaining mix of both.

1. Confession: While I know the basic plot of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, I've never read the book (I tried once, but fell asleep after about 3 pages). I've also never read the 2009 parody novel on which this movie is based (I tried once, but fell asleep after about 7 pages). So I really have no idea how close the movie comes to either of the actual books.

[Although, on the way out of the theater, I did hear one older gentleman say, "Wow! That really was Pride and Prejudice!"]

This is from the cover of the book version
This is from the cover of the book version

2. This is an "alternate history" movie set in England in the early 1800's, when the landed aristocracy must protect themselves from a zombie outbreak, while also maintaining their high standards of manners.

3. The movie centers on the soap-opera love lives of a group of sisters in the Bennett family. Their money-hungry mother wants to marry them all off to the first wealthy man that shows an interest in them. But the girls, who are highly trained in the Shaolin art of killing zombies, are less ready to rush into matrimony. When zombie hunter Colonel Darcy arrives, and takes an interest in Elizabeth Bennett, good manners become harder and harder to maintain.

4. The movie takes itself seriously when it needs to. The costumes and set design and soundtrack are all lush and beautiful, and would fit in a real Jane Austen story. But the movie also very tongue-in-cheek, which makes it super quotable, such as when one of the girls says, "Zombies or no zombies, all women must think of marriage."

5. This movie offers us a new version of the zombie, a more... "refined" zombie than we've seen before. In this society, people turn into zombies slowly at first, and are able to maintain their human looks for awhile. But once they eat their first human brain, the transformation speeds up.

6. This movie is pretty complicated for a zombie movie. It offers commentary on love and romance, the British class system, gender roles, and politics. And the zombie apocalypse.

Which reminds me, if you like the ending of the movie, leave when the credits hit. If you don't like how things turn out, stay for a few minutes into the credits, and you will get an extra scene.

7. It was directed by Burr Steers, who directed the great coming-of-age film Igby Goes Down, and a couple of Zac Efron movies.

8. The zombie action is pretty satisfying, and it's cool to see the contrast of the undead loose among the aristocracy. There is a good amount of violence, but there's not much gore. When zombies get shot in the head, they don't splatter - it's more like an explosion of powder.

9. This is a fun movie, and with great cinematography. Jane Austen and zombies make a better fit than you might think. I guess it's kind of like chocolate and peanut butter.

Here's the trailer.

What did you think? Was the movie faithful to either of the books? Did the odd combo work for you?


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