Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Writers: Burr Steers, Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell, Eva Bell, Aisling Loftus
Synopsis: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material
6 / 10
- Lily James was pretty good in this film.
- The action scenes were pretty good.
- Great use of cinematography, as some of the wide angle shots were amazing.
- The makeup for the zombies seemed very authentic.
- While the plot of this film was stupid, it's one of those rare "it's so bad that it's actually pretty good."
- The script is horribly written
- Outside of Lily James, everyone is downright mediocre in their acting performances.
- The premise itself it's absurd, and bastardizes the original story far more than what you can imagine.
- The script is devoid of any real logic, as a lot of these characters act fairly carelessly considering they live in a world surrounded by ZOMBIES!
A horrible spin on a classic story
I can only wonder what they were thinking when this premise was conceived. I'm sure someone was like, "Hey, you want to know what "Pride and Prejudice" really needs? ZOMBIES!" Yeah, putting a bunch of zombies into a romantic historical piece is just the thing to spark new life into it huh? When hearing about this concept, it sounds like a badly written fanfiction you would find online written by adolescent teens. However, it seems this badly contrived premise somehow got a budget, and this is what we're getting.
When I first heard about this movie, I said this is either going to be a huge piece of crap, or it would turn out to be so bad that it's actually good because of how laughably bad it is. Thankfully, this film falls under the latter for the most part. . At the beginning, the film gives you a general history lesson on how this world became overwhelmed by zombies, due to the black plaque, and how the various European countries have adjusted.
And in spite of the situation, the film still stays true to how the original "Pride and Prejudice" story played out. Sure, they turn Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) into a zombie hunter, and they make Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James) and her sisters into uber sexy femme fatale zombie assassins; complete with daggers hidden within their bras and panties. However, it's still basically the same story. Mother tries to get her daughters to marry wealthy young suitors. Both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth start off with something of a love hate relationship.
It's basically the same deal. If you've seen any of the previous adaptations of "Pride and Prejudice", or read the book, then chances are you already know how this story plays out. The only real difference is that occasionally you'll have to watch them kill off a zombie or two, or watch a zombie kill a bunch of people. Apart from that, there's not much difference.
Granted, I will admit it was fun watching a bunch of zombies periodically come in and try to kill people, while the film tries to retell this romantic historical piece. And when Elizabeth is forced to turn down her cousin's marriage proposal because he wanted her to give up zombie killing, I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of it. If you watch the movie, they make it fairly obvious that the zombies are able to show up anywhere at anytime.
Yet in spite of knowing this, you'll find characters often taking walks along the woods by themselves, and you'll even see Elizabeth practice sword fighting outside in the middle of the freaking night! Not to mention the fact that there doesn't seem to be a lot of security around most of their homes considering the circumstances. Seriously, you're living in a world that's constantly being swarmed by zombie attacks, yet you're biggest concern is what's proper and finding men to marry your own daughters? Talk about a lack in priorities.
During the movie, it's revealed that one of the main characters is a zombie himself. Unlike most zombie films, this one seems to be so articulate that he could literally pass for a human being.
According to him, zombies are not only able to become civilize without craving human brains, as they can easily use pig brains as a substitute, but he also cites how the zombies would like to make peace with the humans. As he points out, the zombies are winning the war against the humans, yet they want to offer a truce. When he informs Elizabeth of this, she quickly tries to convince the others of her findings. Sadly, nobody believes her, as they just laugh at the mere notion of zombies wanting peace, and they never bring it up again.
My thoughts are if you know you're losing a war against the zombies, and they offer to make peace with you, then why the hell wouldn't you consider it? Sure, you can say they might be lying, but it's still worth looking into. However, the entire script is poorly written, as it's devoid of any logic, and the acting is arguably even worse.
Sam Riley comes off so wooden in his performance that he could've easily have passed for one of the zombies if they had gone that route in this film. In fact, it might've made this film that much better if they did. Apart from Lily James, the rest of the cast does a poor job acting in this film, as most of them come off as generic one dimensional stereotypes of the characters they're supposed to represent.
However, as bad as this film was, I have to admit it was rather funny to watch. The premise of the story alone sounds ridiculous, and watching them try to retell this classic story with zombies is just a riot to watch. Granted, I'll be the first to admit this film is ungodly stupid, and probably bastardizes the original story way more than the 1940's film ever did. However, it's one of those rare movies that's so freakishly awful that it needs to be seen to be believed.
© 2016 Steven Daniels