By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B (3 stars)
From director Burr Steers (17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud) comes a film adaptation of the incredibly popular horror-comedy parody novel, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies, an obvious satire of the Jane Austen classic novel, Pride + Prejudice. I can tell you right now after all the Scary Movies and Haunted Houses we keep getting from Hollywood, THIS I can gladly consider an ACTUAL parody movie worth watching and can be enjoyed.
It doesn’t spoof specific movies but rather two specific genres, a Jane Austen style period romance and classic zombie horror movies. The result, an irreverently entertaining time at the movies, the blend of romance and horror in this works quite well, it doesn’t go straight up bland, lifeless romance with supernatural elements like the Twilight movies, but rather half romance, half zombie comedy, but it isn’t anything like Warm Bodies, so no sexy zombies here.
It’s hard to categorize exactly what kind of horror-comedy this is, but what does make the film truly shine is the talented cast, cinematography, 1800 era cliché satires, and lots of action. I haven’t read the book in a while so I’m not entirely sure how it holds up to its print form, but in terms of being an entertaining movie, it’s good popcorn fun, don’t expect any Oscar® material with this, the film does not take itself seriously, thus resulting in a silly fun time.
Set in 19th Century England, a zombie outbreak has fallen upon the land of Jane Austen’s classic tale, Pride + Prejudice of relationships between lovers of different social classes. The film follows beautiful but feisty heroine, Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James-Downton Abbey, Cinderella (2015) who is a master of martial arts and weaponry and fierce zombie hunter and epitome of upper class prejudice, Mr. Darcy (Sam Reilly-Control, On the Road, Maleficent).
As the zombie apocalypse gets out of hand, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy must swallow their pride, take out their weapons, and battle the Undead on the blood-soaked battlefield.
The film also stars Jack Huston (American Hustle, The Longest Ride, Hail, Caesar!) as Mr. Wickham, Bella Heathcote (In Time, Dark Shadows) as Jane Bennet, Douglas Booth (Noah, Jupiter Ascending) as Mr. Bingley, Matt Smith (In Bruges, Doctor Who, Terminator: Genisys) as Mr. Collins, Charles Dance (Underworld: Awakening, The Imitation Game, Woman in Gold) as Mr. Bennet, Lena Headey (The Brothers Grimm, 300, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Suki Waterhouse (Material Girl, The Divergent Series: Insurgent) as Catherine “Kitty” Bennet, newcomers, Ellie Bamber and Millie Brady as Lydia and Mary Bennet, and Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Miranda, Jam and Jerusalem) as Mrs. Bennet.
Overall, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies is a fun horror-comedy that delivers what it promises, beautiful, badass women battling supernatural beings, pretty much exactly what Bella Swan wishes she was. It cleverly mixes chick-flick romance with zombie horror, so no need to argue with your girlfriend about picking between a romance or a horror action movie.
The cast, for the most part are developed well, for a movie with the title “Pride + Prejudice + Zombies”, especially Lily James, she’s really expanding her acting talents because when I think of her, I usually think of her Downton Abbey character or Cinderella, her character in this is like if you made her Downton Abbey and Cinderella characters into badass babes. I hope she surprises me with other acting roles in the future, because she’s becoming one of my new favorite actresses in film.
The film does have a lot of hokey moments that I’m assuming are played for laughs since this is basically a spoof of 19th Century lifestyle. And fortunately it doesn’t get in the way of some kickass zombie action with beautiful women, it succeeds in appealing to both women and men at the same time.
If you’re a fan of traditional gory zombie films, this might not be your movie because it doesn’t step into R-rated gore territory, though it does have its moments of intensity. But if you’re a fan of Jane Austen and zombie movies, you’ll probably enjoy this movie, after all it has Pride, it has Prejudice, and best of all, Zombies.