Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review
Okay, so where to begin? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one of the weirder films I’ve watched in my life. I remember when it finished I turned to my girlfriend and said, “I enjoyed that!” and she replied, “Yeah, but I’ll never watch it again.” I think that’s the best way to sum this film up.
It’s an incredibly unique take on an incredibly over-told story. Since its publishing in the late 18th century, there have been no less than nine adaptations – and that’s just films. When you factor in TV series and stage productions, Pride and Prejudice is barely escapable. It’s a classic tale, one we all at least know about. Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr Darcy, initially takes a dislike to him, but through shared events she overcomes her disdain and they eventually marry. It’s cliché but what would you expect? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) follows the same plot, but with some very strange and interesting additions.
The film takes place after England has been decimated by a zombie attack. There is no attempt to explain why the zombies appeared, or what caused their existence, and this is a plus in my book. Too often you watch a zombie film and get bogged down in pseudo-science that in the end adds little to the plot and wastes time. None of this in PPZ. There’s a brief montage explaining how the zombie war happened, and it’s enough so that we as the viewer know what’s going on.
When we first meet the Bennet family, we immediately know what kind of film this is going to be. We see the daughters tightening their corsets, being forced into oversized and unnecessarily extravagant dresses – all very 18th century. But all the while they’re putting on sheaths, allowing them to carry knives on their person. It’s great. It’s pure nonsense, but it’s great.
The zombies aren’t especially prevalent in this film; the story is very much centred on Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. The zombies are a plot device, and in this sense they work wonderfully. The film is very fun – it’s great to see the Bennet sisters walking through the forest, speaking with Parson Collins, when suddenly they hear a noise, and the proper 18th century ladies are replaced by fierce warriors. It’s great to see the sisters at a ball, dancing, socialising, when zombies break through the guard, and the knives come out of sheaths, and the sisters move from dancing to killing.
As fun as the film is, it’s not without its faults. Confession time – I’m about to be super nit-picky about the film, so if minor details aren’t your thing, skip to the next paragraph. The scene where the Bennet sisters are slaughtering the zombies at the ball, it’s all very well-choreographed and fun to watch, the sisters look very badass swinging their knives, but nothing they do would actually kill the zombies. They’re slashing at their chests, heads, chopping off limbs, it’s like watching a sword fight. This wouldn’t stop a zombie. At no point do they chop the zombies’ heads off or destroy their brains. Very annoying. And on top of this, the sisters’ blades are all clean – not a drop of blood on them.
As for actual faults; Lena Headey is in the film (this isn’t a fault, keep reading!). An exceptional actress, she plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is repeatedly referred to as the most dangerous fighter in England, but we don’t get to see her fight once. She’s not utilised nearly as well as she could be and it’s incredibly frustrating. I also wanted to see more of the zombie wars; the montage made them seem really interesting, and the idea of a zombie apocalypse set in the 1700s is fascinating, but it wasn’t explored fully enough. If anything, it’d make a great film in its own right.
Overall, what I said at the beginning of this review stands true. Good film, but I wouldn’t watch it again. It has all the pride and the prejudice you’d expect, as well as lots of blood and gore chucked in for good measure. It’s worth a watch but it won’t change your life, or the way you view cinema.
P.S. I forgot to add, there’s a zombie baby in the film. I’d never seen one before. It’s even creepier than you think it’ll be. Cool though.