I love zombie movies and I enjoy a tea cozy movie from time to time, but “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” unsuccessfully attempts to mash-up the two. While I have read Jane Austen‘s novel, I have not read Seth Grahame-Smith‘s book, so perhaps fans of his may see something that I didn’t. I just didn’t get this movie. While the action scenes will mildly amuse the zombie crowd and the period costumes / dialogue will please the literary crowd, the movie falls short of satisfying both on any meaningful level. I can’t figure out the target audience for this movie.
Making matters worse, the film is not very well made. Greatness could’ve been achieved if the movie took on a more campy direction. There are a few mild chuckles here and there (the idea that Mr. Darcy is a savage zombie killer is a funny premise on its own accord) but there’s not enough humor throughout. The cast does a decent job with their straight-faced delivery of Austen-era dialogue and the zombie makeup effects are cool, but the slow motion shots of elegantly coiffed girls in period clothing wielding knives and guns got old after the fifth time it was overused.
I also think the movie suffers from its PG-13 rating and would’ve been much more successful if it was rated R. The violence and zombie killing is muted and the editing is fast and furious so the audience can’t see exactly what is going on. The premise is kind of a fun idea that just doesn’t translate well to a full-length feature film. It was still gratifying to see more ass-kicking heroines, all fighting the undead while wearing their corsets and bonnets.
Around a decade ago, Seth Grahame-Smith’s book was released to much buzz and attention. The concept was an interesting and novel approach to writing: take a public-domain work of literature and spice it up with a horror construct. I remember buying the book and getting about halfway through before giving up. While it’s fun to think and talk about, a gimmick is still a gimmick and it wasn’t by itself a great read.
I had higher hopes for the movie version. I was disappointed by it, too.
Again, the concept is fun and cool: set an English period-piece in the midst of a zombie invasion. Create heroines that must balance their skill in the deadly arts with the societal demands of being a lady. Yes, it’s fun to watch the Bennet girls kick ass, but there isn’t nearly enough of it to keep this movie interesting. The relationships between the characters aren’t strong enough to drive the picture as a drama, and the fight sequences are too infrequent to make it compelling as an action movie. On top of that, the film’s geography (which is critical to the story) was utterly confusing, and I still don’t have a good understanding of where things were happening in relation to one another. I do give bonus points, however, for a really creative opening credits sequence that explained the rise of the zombies and the backstory.