Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

pride and prejudice and zombies poster 2016 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Concept is solid

Feels like aspects and opportunities are missed, primarily for those who read the original or the novel

Movie Info

Movie Name: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Studio:  Cross Creek Pictures

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  January 21, 2016 (Premiere)/February 5, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

pride and prejudice and zombies bennet sisters lily james

The Bennet Sisters play for keeps!!!

England is plagued by zombies and they aren’t always easy to see.  Zombie hunters patrol the land searching for the undead and Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), Jane Bennet (Bella Heathcote), Lydia Bennet (Ellie Bamber), and Mary Bennet (Millie Brady) have been formally trained in the art of slaying zombies by their father (Charles Dance) to protect them from the danger.  The Bennet sisters also are attractive to suitors who could change the fortune of the Bennet family.  Elizabeth is content with her freedom but finds attempt to pair her difficult.  When the cold and distant zombie hunter Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) shows interest in Elizabeth, she finds there are other battles to be fought than zombies…but the zombies are rising and England could fall!

Directed by Burr Steers (who also adapted the screenplay), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (stylized as Pride + Prejudice + Zombies) is a horror period satire.  The film adapts the 2009 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith and received mixed reviews with poor performances at the box office.

pride and prejudice and zombies lena headey lady catherine de bourgh

Less mopey Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth and more zombie slaying Lady Catherine de Bourgh!

I have to be honest.  I know little about Pride and Prejudice.  Despite being an English-Lit major, I made it through four years of college without reading a single Jane Austen book.  I have a little familiarity with Sense and Sensibility, but Pride and Prejudice is a blank space…so it makes truly enjoying this movie rather difficult.

With no literary gauge to compare the movie with, much of the basic premises is lost.  If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, the characters aren’t funny parallels and the situations at point feel very random.  This makes the movie rather niche in that you need to at least be a fan of the writing to enjoy it because as a zombie movie, it is rather bland.  What I feel is missing, is there is a lot that can be said about zombies and their representation of societal norms at the time…I know that some of that is imbedded in the script, but it feels that there is a good story there.

The cast is fine.  Lily James a good lead and Sam Riley is decent as the morose Mr. Darcy.  Most of the sisters blend together and Lena Headey’s Lady Catherine de Bourgh feels underused because her overall role in the original story.  Jack Huston’s George Wickham plays the heavy in the movie, but he also is undercut by the story.

pride and prejudice and zombies darcy vs wickham jack huston sam riley

Battling for the leading lady…and the freedom of Britain from brain-eating zombies

I do love blending genres and the movie did have me wishing for a good zombie period piece.  The rigid nature of period pieces is either played up or used in contrast to the reality of the situation.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies try to have it both ways, but once again, it feels like if you eliminated the Pride and Prejudice parallels (aka the whole point of the movie) that a better visual and crafted zombie movie would be possible.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies wasn’t for me at this time.  If I go back and read Pride and Prejudice (and more than just an only summary), I might enjoy some nuances to the characters and performances I lost in the first viewing.  The film just didn’t work for me and I hoped it would…I was ok with the zombies taking England the whole country burning.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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