Reviews: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

Better with zombies?

There's an opening scene in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies where Mrs Bennet rushes in the room and announces that a rich young man is coming town and tries to convince Mr Bennet and his daughters that they must go and meet him ... whilst they sit there polishing weapons. For killing zombies.

It's a truly wonderful moment.

There are four other scenes like this in the film.

  • Mr Darcy realises he loves Elizabeth after watching her dismember a horde of zombies.
  • Jane and Elizabeth discuss the merits of Mr Bingley's affection whilst dueling in martial arts
  • The sisters walk down a lane in their dresses, with rifles slung over their shoulders
  • Mr Darcy gives his unflattering proposal to Elizabeth and she kicks him through a table.

Jane Austen is actually a perfect setting for zombies. Consider:

1. The underlying irony in so much of Jane Austen's works is how ridiculous it is that people see nothing better people can do with their time than chase a man. Having characters protest that to be happy one must be married during the zombie apocalypse actually highlights that absurdity.

2. From a modern perspective it can be hard to empathise with the shock that a girl 'walked' to someones house. But surely no well brought up girl would fight zombies.

3. Several of Jane Austen's novels were probably set during the Napoleonic Wars and never mention it. It's perfect to have a zombie apocalypse in the background and no-one pays attention.

In all the scenes above, adding zombies actually supports the themes and tone of the original stories. The zombies embrace Jane Austen's sarcasm, irony and subtlety. Subtlety with zombies!

But that's complete list of moments like that. The rest of it is written like the writers don't understand the joke.

Time and again they'll quote a P&P line and then immediately explain what that line means, as though the audience is too stupid to understand.

Even by itself, it fails basic writing. A character will ask to show someone something, and you think a place nearby, but then instead they ride all the way to London. Or Darcy is still surprised Elizabeth hates him even though, instead of subtle jabs, she just straight up tells him that she hates him several times in the film.

There are brilliant moments, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies could really be a film to remember.

But this isn't that film.