I’m not a fan of Victorian period films. I’ve tried and failed to watch Pride and Prejudice. However, I have a weak spot for zombie films. So, despite my reservations, I found my daughter and myself venturing out to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which has a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Zombies have become a regular problem in 19th century England and the living has had to learn to defend themselves. Meanwhile, the five Bennet sisters have been brought up to be warriors, but are now being pressured to married by their mother in order to retain their fathers inheritance at the time of his passing. Absolutely ridiculous right? Well, spoilers of this review, it kind of worked.
I love zombies! They are by far my favorite creature in film, comics, and TV. I like the various interpretations of them, and few films that I have seen with zombies have lost my interest. This was the same. I loved that the zombies already existed when we join the film so there isn’t some long boring delay before the first one graces the screen. The lore they built into the backstory is compelling and even their take on the virus is interesting.
The actors really did an amazing job taking this goofy idea and making it feel somewhat grounded. Not Walking Dead dramatic, but this is a real problem that is easier than love. Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) were both great as the leads. Darcy’s impact is felt in the opening scene of the movie and I was sold on his character instantly. Elizabeth was a convincing heroine and really kicked ass on screen. The surprise joy was Parson Collins (Matt Smith) who was the comedic relief of the film. Collins had me laughing every time he was on screen. Add in performances by Sally Phillips, Charles Dances, Jack Huston, and Lena Heady as well as several young stars that I’m not familiar with and you have a great cast that takes the film just seriously enough that it’s believable, but light hearted enough that it’s fun.
That’s the best part of the film in fact and to quote a student of mine, “It’s fun.” He uses that quote to defend any movie he likes that others tend to not, but in this case I think it definitely applies. I had a good time at a movie and so did my daughter. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about!
Yeah, of course there are some issues with the film. The zombie effects do not hold up to the standards that the Walking Dead have set the bar to be. Also, an overuse of zombie perspective camera shots seem to have been used as an alternative of a costly zombie death. Innovative it may be, but it didn’t really add anything to the film, but rather felt a bit gimmicky and a copout of the grisly deaths expected in a zombie film. That may have also been done to keep the film at a PG-13 rating, but for what reason? Zombies and gore go hand and hand, why not let the R rating come.
In the same vein as special effects issues, there was what appeared to be a CGI horde of zombies that looked like a CGI horde of zombies. That’s never great in a film that has great costumes and sets, but throws some awful zombies.
Another issue is the plot seems to get rushed towards the end of the film. There is a really interesting plot point that involves four zombies that never gets resolved. The climax ends as quickly as it begins and that does live a bit to be desired.
Even with the flaws the film had, I had a smile on my face from the opening zombie kill. The lore introduced here was an interesting take on zombies that I would love to see explored in an R-rated setting. I give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 6 out of 10 marriage proposals.