For strange people like me who are both Horror addicts and Regency fans, the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the perfect mix of gore, tradition, and humor.
To benefit those of you who have been under a rock, I will explain. This movie is based on the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book series written first by Seth Grahame-Smith and improved upon by Steve Hockensmith. In its most basic description, it takes the original Jane Austen tale and ultimately inserts zombies, but it’s so much more than that. The lore behind the Bennett sisters and the rest of their relations has been “punked” zombie-style. Instead of the Bennett sisters being looked down upon because of money or poor relations, they are chastised by one set for being trained in martial arts in the Chinese style (vs. Mr. Darcy and the Japanese tradition) and by another set, they are chastised for being trained at all. Mr. Bennett has made sure his girls know how to defend themselves and others from the undead zombie horde. Mr. Darcy and his Aunt Catherine are also warriors, but trained in the more “upper class” Japanese style. No one much pays attention to the girls until zombies spring up in their neighborhood and then everyone hides under the table while the Bennett sister effectively take care of business.
Those of you who have not seen the film, might want to stop here. Spoilers ahead!
Mr. Darcy is not the tall, commanding gentleman we’ve grown to love, but he is a warrior and has an understated sort of command. Lizzy and Jane are expertly played by two young women that I adored. Wickham is all he should be: charming, underhanded, evil…even if he looks more like Capt. Wentworth from Persuasion than P&P’s bad man. Out of all the actors, though, Lizzy (Lily James) is the star.
Written and directed by Burr Steers, I say bravo! He brought everything I wanted in this movie and none of what I didn’t. His humor and sincerity combined in a movie I will be owning as soon as it’s released. Instead of the mimicky spoof that the first book emanated, he seemed to take more of the whit and sincerity that the prequel (Dawn of the Dreadfuls) and sequel (Dreadfully Ever After) captured. The message in this film is one women can get behind and if your daughters are old enough to handle the gore, they should see it. It proves women are just as tough and can take care of themselves in battle, even in Regency gowns and stockings.
The fun-est scene is when Darcy and Lizzy have a disagreement and they use martial arts to settle it. At one point, Lizzy crisscrossed her feet around Darcy’s neck. Scary, but so sensual as Darcy looks down her long stockinged legs to the knife latched on her thigh. These girls are sexy anyway you look at it and they fill me with pride when they launch into battle. Go Lizzy! Go Jane! Lydia, Katie, Mary…battle those zombies like we know you can!
This movie is not without faults. There are holes and a few instances of “skips” in action, such as when Darcy and Wickham are back to back, surrounded by a zombie horde and when we rejoin them they are suddenly alone, battling each other, no zombies in sight. But these holes are easily overlooked for the entertainment value it brings. For hard-core Janites, there are a few “YES!” moments that we have always wanted played out. What if Lizzy could beat up Darcy during the proposal? What if Darcy finally got to kick Wickham’s butt? What if Lizzy could prove to Lady Catherine she is worthy of Darcy after all?
One thing I felt kind of annoyed with was the “heaving bosoms” of Lizzy. Almost every single shot has her breathing hard, her breasts bouncing up and down in an over-amplified manner. If you can stop noticing it, you’re better than I, but I guess the guys had to have some incentive to watch. And taking my hubby along, I have to say he did enjoy it almost as much as I did. There are enough epic battle scenes and zombie confrontations to keep him occupied.
Although I loved this movie from beginning to end, the gore might be a little much for some of you not used to it. If, however, you are an avid watcher of The Walking Dead, Z Nation, or the movies of our most beloved George Romero, this will be tame gore for you. For the horror addicts, this has a few truly terrifying moments such as when Jane encounters a zombie woman in the woods clutching an undead baby to her breast. The undead are done pretty well for you, too. No Halloween store makeup here.
There is definitely room left for a sequel, but if following the book series, a lot from the sequel and prequel will have to be filled in to complete the story. I’d love to see both the prequel and sequel filmed, but because this is such a niche market, I don’t think that dream will be realized.
I love this film and this is the first time I will have ever said this—the movie was better than the book! For you Janites who aren’t sure about the gore, give it a chance! Or just wait for someone to cut it into pieces on YouTube so you can enjoy the precious story moments in between the scares.