Verdict: Moderately entertaining, but leaves you wanting more.
When one remembers Jane Austen, one does so fondly. Be it her use of irony or her comments on marriage as a means to improve a woman’s economic condition; we seem to love it all. Of all the novels she has written, Pride and Prejudice continues to be one of the most loved. It has been adapted time and again on celluloid, each attempt being different from the last. One such attempt has been made with the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
One may keep in mind that the film not only draws influence from Pride and Prejudice, but as a matter of fact, is based on a parody of the same (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith). Although the plot is no different when compared to that of the Jane Austen novel, there is a twist – the presence of zombies (as the title suggests).
Directed by Burr Steers, the film is set in 19th century England where the living are at war with the ‘undead’. Mrs. Bennet (Sally Phillips) wants her daughters to be lady-like, so they could be married off to men of fortune, while, Mr. Bennet (Charles Dance) equips his daughters with the skills to fight brain-eating zombies; thus, making them warriors.
A turning point arises when Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) begins to take interest in the eldest of the Bennet daughters, Jane (Bella Heathcote) and Elizabeth (Lily James) is wooed not by one, but by three men : Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley), Mr. Collins (Matt Smith) and Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston).
One of the most spectacular aspects of this film is the way in which the characters are written. We find the Bennet sisters in their day clothes cleaning guns and sliding daggers into their garters as they get dressed for the ball. Wickham may not be trustworthy, but he may also not be wholly alive. Lady Catherine (Lena Headey), not only has an eye patch but is also an illustrious zombie killer. In most parts, the film adheres to Austen’s story – the costumes, the balls, the love-hate relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy; all spiced up with zombie scares, head-chopping and skull smashing.
Having a run time of 108 minutes, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more than just period drama. It is a blend of action, horror, romance and comedy with a little bit of suspense thrown in. The film not only affrights its audience in snatches, it also has scope for laughter. Steers makes an attempt to strike a balance between the classic novel and it’s zombified version. However, it tends to fall flat at times.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Despite some of its narrative shortcomings, the characters in the film manage to convey Grahame-Smith’s imagination. What awaits us at the end of the film is yet another twist; it makes us look forward to a sequel.