Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

OK, the horror/zombie/gruesome movie genre is not for me! I have enjoyed an occasional gruesome movie, like Inglorious Basterds and I have even liked the Hannibal TV series to a certain degree, but only the Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde storyline (the rest really was too gruesome for me). What I do love is all things Austen and all things Pride & Prejudice. My fave P&P adaptation is, of course, the 1995 BBC one with Colin Firth. So combine one of my favourite things with the (for me) worst movie genre and what do you get? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! I was so torn on whether I wanted to see this or not but in the end I very recently did… and to my great surprise I actually enjoyed it!

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OK, the zombies still aren’t my thing and there is the constant threat of zombies throughout the movie but somehow this whole zombie scenario is so absurd, it’s just… funny! The movie is tongue-in-cheek, with zombie references strewn everywhere in the story – it’s just funny to see that juxtaposed with this whole Jane Austen world! Not laugh out loud funny  but very amusing nonetheless. So, despite blood and gore (and really, it wasn’t too bad – I thought Hannibal was worse or in any case creepier and scarier!), I truly enjoyed the film. It’s not my fave movie ever, but it’s fun! It had also a lot to do with the performances of the actors – they were good!

I don’t think I’ll ever be a Lily James fan (I wasn’t too fond of her in War & Peace and I really didn’t like her in Cinderella) but in this, for the first time, I liked her; she made a good Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzie really is a bit of a kick-ass character anyway and now, with her battling zombies, she was even more so! I also thought Sam Riley was a very good Mr Darcy and the two of them worked well together. I did need to get used to Sam Riley’s raspy voice, though. He sounded like he could use a lozenge… I don’t know if he always sounds like that, I’ve never seen him in anything else before, but I got used to it. One highlight Darcy and Elizabeth scene was the first proposal scene – that was really fun to watch! Not only verbal fireworks there, it got very physical too.

Bella Heathcote is a pretty and more tough Jane Bennet, and Douglas Booth as Mr. Bingley is sweet with a little more backbone, but neither can hold a candle to Lizzie and Darcy, of course.

For me, the greatest revelations in this movie were Matt Smith as Parson Collins and Lena Headey as Catherine De Bourgh.

Matt Smith was just absolutely delightful as useless Collins, in his silly quest for a wife and his love for Darcy. He literally stole every scene he was in and just cracked me up! The laugh out loud moments I did have all involved him. Lena Headey I didn’t know at all (apparently she is in Game of Thrones but I don’t watch that) but she was one cool Catherine de Bourgh, the best and most feared zombie slayer out there.

Yeah, the story of P&P was somewhat condensed and the plot twisted to fit in with zombies. Not all characters were as clearly drawn as in other Austen adaptations but the essential Lizzie and Darcy stuff was all there. Except for their dance at Netherfield… I really missed that one. It is one of my favourite scenes in the 1995 adaptation, the sparks fly between Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle…

And it would have been a perfect sexual tension build up in Zombies  as well! I do think such a scene was filmed. Lizzie is in mid-annoyance with Mr Collins when Darcy steps in and asks her to dance. She impulsively agrees and then introduces Darcy and Collins…

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… but after that they get distracted by zombies and the dance never actually happens! It must have been filmed, though, because I found this still:

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I do hope to see that scene sometime, I am very curious!

From the trailer you’d think that 90% of the movie is battling zombies but it isn’t, there’s a lot of ‘regular’ P&P in there as well. And even the battles – yeah, there’s blood and splashing but not everything is shown in such detail, sometimes it’s more the sound than the actual visual effect that’s disturbing. It really is P&P with a twinkle in the eye. Don’t adher to the original too strictly and don’t mind the slashing too much and you may just enjoy this! I know I did. 🙂