Director Burr Steers’ adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s re-imagining of Jane Austen’s beloved novel delivers everything its title promises—“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
If that’s not clear enough, then the first line might help — “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
If you’re still not certain what you’re in for, well this may not be the film for you.
Set in the same early 1800’s English countryside as Austen’s original novel, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” deals with many of the same issues as its namesake. Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and her four sisters must maneuver their way through issues of manners, morality, education, marriage, and, of course, zombies.
While the film veers further away from the original work, than the novel it’s based on does, the characters are still those that Austen created.
The characters of Austen’s novel transfer remarkably well into this alternate zombie apocalypse universe. As you might imagine, the Bennet sisters are five of the fiercest warriors in all of England. Elizabeth, the greatest of them all, seems destined to never meet her match both for wits and warrior skills, that is until Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) arrives in town.
At this point, I’m going to hope/assume you’re familiar with the general premise of “Pride and Prejudice.” So, sorry, no spoilers here.
Although, I will say that the warrior aspect of this alternate universe makes for some interesting interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth, particularly when it comes to marriage proposals. Let’s just say there’s no confusion over the meaning of her answer.
Which leads me to an important quality of the film. It’s played straight, or as straight as a period film with zombies can be, which makes for some scenes that are pretty hilarious purely because of the absurdity of the situation.
Of course, a lot of the film’s successes are due to the cast. Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet and Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy are superb, and backed up by an equally impressive cast, including Matt Smith as the ridiculous Mr. Collins and Lena Headey as the incredibly fierce Lady Catherine de Bourgh,
If the concept of a zombie apocalypse in the British Regency is beyond your comprehension, you probably won’t like this film. However, if your love of “Pride and Prejudice” is only matched by your love of zombies, well this might be your new favorite film.
…just for fun: