Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen Rolls Over In Her Grave – Review

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Courtesy Screen Gems

If Jane Austen comes back as a zombie, I know who she is attacking first.

In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, all of your familiar characters from the Austen novel show up, but there’s a twist.

The Bennet Sisters are being pushed by their mother (Sally Phillips) to find a good (rich) man to marry, while their father (Charles Dance) has pushed them to become the deadliest warriors in all of the English countryside … because a zombie apocalypse has broken out.

As you can imagine, the oldest daughter, Liz (Lily James), has no time for silly games and silly boys, while her sister, Jane (Bella Heathcote), has fallen head over heels for the town’s newest most eligible man, Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth).

As their romance becomes more complicated thanks to the ever stuffy and imposing Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), can true love prevail?

Will Darcy and Liz realize they hate each other because they have a hot burning passion firing up their loins?

Will zombies eat everyone before we find out?

This is a truly silly movie, so, early on, writer/director Burr Steers fills Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with a remarkable campiness fitting for such a ridiculous premise.

Sadly, the movie’s downfall can be traced to an unwillingness to maintain this tone.  Steers starts to feel chained to the original material, which leads to a movie that is too serious, lacking drama and missing visual flair.

No one watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies really cares if it is true to the story!  Heck, most of us likely have never read Pride and Prejudice.  Probably half of those didn’t even know it was a book or that Jane Austen existed.

The Bennet Sisters are supposed to be traditionally trained Shaolin warriors, but the actresses portraying them should have trained harder to look more realistic.  Even in slow motion, these actresses look like they are fighting in even slower motion without the crisp moves a zombie killer must master.

Then, as Steers rolls out all of Austen’s most famous prose, he loses the bits of comic fodder that make Pride and Prejudice and Zombies worth seeing.  Matt Smith is hilarious as the twerpy Parson Collins and Steers provides a few funny sight gags to have you chuckling, but, once the story turns to the crazy twists and turns of the love stories, even the zombies stop caring.

2waffles_sml2 Waffles (Out of 4)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material.

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