A period piece that follows Elizabeth Bennet – the second of five sisters – through her unwanted courtship. You could almost say that Elizabeth Bennet and something called “Mr. Darcy” fooled around and fell in love. Also, there are zombies. So many zombies.
I have never read Pride & Prejudice. I have never seen a film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. I once attempted to listen to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, until I realized that it was boring and I shut it off after roughly 10 minutes. I know the names Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy simply because I worked in a bookstore for 3 years. I have also run across many people in my life who can’t wait to tell me about how Colin Firth is the quintessential Mr. Darcy. “He just gets it. He’s perfect. All other Mr. Darcy’s should burn.”
That is my entire history with the source material and the source material of this source material. I have also seen Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter no less than 4 times, which I feel is relevant information to share here.
I had no expectations going in. All I wanted was a fun movie that featured lots of frilly clothes and a fair amount of zombie killing. I got exactly that.
I can’t speak to how close the non-zombie parts were to the original book. I assume the major plot points stayed the same, and I’m also assuming that a decent portion of the dialogue was pulled directly from the book. I know that the opening line was a slightly modified version of Austen’s opener. Witness:
No zombie version: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
Zombie version: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
And they say you can’t improve on a classic.
There was quite a bit of commentary on social class running through this movie. Again, I have no idea how this was handled in the novel, but I enjoyed what they did here: since the zombie threat was ever present, everyone was trained in martial arts from a young age. If you had money, you trained in Japan. If you did not have money, you trained in China. Those who trained in Japan looked down at those who trained in China. And round and round they go. (If you came here looking for a deep breakdown of the clashes of social classes and gender politics in the 19th century, you came to the wrong place.)
Let’s talk zombies for a second. That’s why you’re here, right?
They looked good. Really nice make-up and zombie effects. Being a PG-13 movie, they couldn’t show geysers of blood with every kill, so they had to get creative with their gore. For example, for one kill the camera showed what the zombie saw. And what the zombie saw was someone violently decapitating him. That was fun. It was basically the final scene of season six of The Walking Dead, except without all the unbridled hate that followed.
The zombies appeared to be of the Romero variety, but, once we saw more of them we saw some differences. The main difference was revealed when we saw a church full of zombies acting like humans. Humans with rotting faces and (likely) terrible breath, but humans all the same. As it turns out, if zombies can sustain themselves on pig brains, they can live relatively normal lives. They are also capable of running.
The movie ended with a cliffhanger in an attempt to set up a sequel. Seeing as how this made $16.4 million on a $28 million budget, it’s safe to say that a sequel isn’t happening. Or, at least, it’s not happening outside of SyFy.
Overall, I liked this pretty well. It definitely dragged at times, but that’s just because I wanted to see more zombie gore. I will not apologize for who I am. Don’t expect a masterpiece, but, if you’re looking to have a little fun with zombies and also feel slightly (SLIGHTLY) literary, give this one a shot.
Notable actors: Lily James, Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Matt Smith, Sam Riley