With a title like “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”, you ought to know better than to take a movie like that seriously! It’s ridiculous and fun, but sometimes that’s all that matters.
A zombie plague has taken over 19th century England and Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James) and her sisters are all trained for zombie slaying by their no nonsense father (Charles Dance). Elizabeth forms an unlikely romance with fellow zombie hunter Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) and the two discover a plot that can trigger the apocalypse. While the fight their feelings for each other, they fight the zombies invading England more-so.
“Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” embraces genre cliches, iconic moments from Jane Austen’s novel “Pride & Prejudice”, and its numerous adaptations, including parodying Colin Firth’s white shirt-swimming scene from the BBC mini series. This isn’t just a spoof, but it also has a surprising amount of panache.
Between innovative POV zombie shots, a pop-up image-illustrated opening credits sequence, and some effective uses of shadows and fog, “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” can almost pass as a serious period horror film. It’s evenly balanced with ridiculous moments including a sensual martial arts fight, subplots involving a clumsy and antagonistic love interest (Matt Smith), and the Four Horsemen.
The cast all does fine work and both James and Riley have great chemistry, managing to balance out even levels of absurdity and drama in their performances. The real stand out though is Smith. He’s a naturally clumsy person off camera and this makes his performance as Mr. Collins more enjoyable.
How can you criticize a movie that’s already this ridiculous? Well, there are a few subplots that aren’t well developed and slow the movie down at times. There are also a few too many characters that come and go throughout the movie, making us wonder their purpose. But once we get to the zombie battles, it’s back in full form.
I saw “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” at a sneak preview, and I’d suggest checking it out at a five-dollar Tuesday theater when it’s released.