Review: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is a fun take on the classic tale


Douglas Booth in Screen Gems’ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

From the director of 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud, comes a surprising film adaptation from Burr Steers (and no, Zac Efron doesn’t make an appearance).

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the cheeky film based on the novel of the same name. The novel – a parody adaptation from Seth Grahame-Smith from the Jane Austen classic – follows the lives of the Bennet sisters as the classic does, but with a twist. 

PPZ  takes place in an alternate universe where the undead plague most of England, and thus causes the country’s inhabitants to prepare and combat them by studying martial arts and other fighting styles from trips to Asia. The class difference is apparent; the wealthy study their fighting form in Japan, while the others study in China.

The Bennet sisters in particular are guided by their father (Charles Dance) in these martial arts to become a fearsome zombie-killing clique of sisters. Their skills put to the test at party held by Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) when zombies become the unexpected guests.

The film really lends itself to showcasing the different fighting styles of each of the Bennet sisters with more of the focus being on Jane (Bella Heathcote) and our main heroine Elizabeth (Lily James). Elizabeth stands out as the best fighter of the group, a sort of justification for her dismissal of the importance in finding a husband and rather perfecting her fighting style.

The movie does follow the classic much of the same: the relationship between Jane and Bingley is portrayed with complete adoration that one can expect with the pair falling instantly in love after Jane and her sisters save the day. The relationship between Elizabeth and the stuffy-yet-mysterious Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) is quite the opposite.

The classic builds the tension between Elizabeth and Darcy from the moment they meet. There’s this tango of appreciation and annoyance at both parties’ stubbornness about love and one another. This tension then builds towards their ultimate affections being shown to one another, and their happily ever after while becoming one of the most iconic couples in literature.

In PPZ however, there is a difference to this plan. I’ve only been exposed to Austen’s work, so forgive me if this is incorrect, but the dislike shared between James’s Elizabeth and RIley’s Darcy upon meeting was startling. For the whole first half of the film, the pair absolutely loathed one another. So much so that I and many viewers around me were thinking that the two of them wouldn’t get together in the end. 

There is a moment when this attitude makes a surprisingly fast change that left the audience disgruntled. After a martial arts fight between the pair (featuring unnecessary slicing of garments) brought on my Darcy’s declaration of love, there is a dramatic shift in James’s character. It’s almost unbelievable with how much vitriol this particular Bennet had for Darcy, only to completely crumble in love with the man after a round of punching.

With a delightful comedic appearance by Matt Smith as Parson Collins and a rather badass one by Lena Headley as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, PPZ does provide an entertainment for its audiences in cheesy zombie glory that is, if you’re looking for a funny take on a classic.