“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” puts a twist on a classic
â€śPride and Prejudice and Zombiesâ€ť may have a vaguely familiar ring to its title, as it is modeled after Seth Grahame-Smithâ€™s novel and portrays a spin-off of Jane Austenâ€™s prominent masterpiece â€śPride and Prejudice.â€ť However, the incorporation of zombies into the respected name had many veering away from the ridiculous thought of tainting a renown love story with the mention of rotting flesh. Contrary to the original tale, a plot twist occurs, which involves the undead arising from a mysterious plague that has infected 19th century England. The idea of integrating a classical romance story with the elements of a zombie flick seems contradictory, yet the outcome is intriguing and distinctly original.
The plot revolves around Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), the second of the five Bennet sisters who are well-trained in the skill of martial arts and capable of defending themselves from their zombie-ridden world. Throughout the movie, Elizabeth finds herself in a complicated situation as she struggles to dedicate her life to becoming a warrior while containing mixed feelings of hatred and attraction towards the prideful yet complex Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley). As the zombie apocalypse rapidly spreads in England, both of their families are forced to face the problem together, fighting next to one another in hopes of defeating the growing population of the living dead.
Since the movie is categorized as an action flick, the combat that unfolds during the battle scenes is packed with an adventurous thrill, particularly when conflict breaks out and the Bennet sisters are called into action. At first, the fighting seems clichĂ©, since many characters in action movies possess impressive combat skills, making this film seem uninteresting when compared to the rest. However, the witty combination of the five seemingly refined sisters attacking alongside the soldiers is a unique variation of a movie set in the 19th century.
Though the film contains several gory scenes on the battlefield between the zombies and their slayers, this movie does not succeed in satisfying viewers who are looking for horrific occurrences during the film. Most of the zombies that pose as an immediate threat are instantly killed before they can cause enough danger to keep the suspense going. Instead, sharp sound effects break the tension, such as a gun unexpectedly going off during a character’s confrontation with a zombie.
From the start of the movie, the plot seemed almost predictable. The overall flow of the storyline feels choppy, and scenes move abruptly from one to the next, occasionally leaving incomplete explanations to minor issues. Scenes such as the opening clip, when the first zombie is discovered residing in a wealthy mansion, do not fully explain how the apocalypse revived itself. With the lack of background information, I was left confused and wondering how the undead managed to come back in the first place.
Despite a few shortcomings in the progression of the plot, the full cast of talented actors makes the film more interesting and enjoyable. The addition of characters like Parson Collins (Matt Smith) adds comic relief with his foolish, absurd behavior. Unlike the rest of the cast, he is constantly jittery and does not act with the same elegant mannerism as the others. He talks with his mouth full while having a serious discussion and makes exaggerated facial expressions such as when his rushed marriage proposal is rejected by Elizabeth. A strong sense of character development builds up as the film moves forward, especially for Darcy as he reluctantly falls deeply in love with Elizabeth. The passion and intensity put forth by Elizabethâ€™s indignation toward Darcy balance out his subdued nature, and the chemistry between the two of them binds the story together by recreating the complicated relationship found in Austenâ€™s original â€śPride and Prejudice.â€ť
To sum it up, â€śPride and Prejudice and Zombiesâ€ť is surprising, to say the least. With brilliant actors portraying diverse characters and the backdrop of a zombie rampage obscuring a romantic backstory, the film reflects a combination of two completely different genres and produces a captivating effect.
By Jessica Huang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of IMDb