“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
As a die-hard Jane Austen fan, I have watched the BBC adaptation and film version of Pride and Prejudice several times. Recently, I decided to give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a try. This adaptation of Austen’s classic novel was originally published as a book by Seth Grahame-Smith. In 2016, director Burr Steers brought Grahame-Smith’s novel to the big screen.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a cross between Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice, and a zombie apocalypse. The heroine, Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James), and her sisters are all well-trained in martial arts. Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), who is “Colonel” Darcy in this adaptation, is the same haughty, eligible bachelor from the novel, but with an added trait—the ability to fight zombies.
I’ll admit, I didn’t have high expectations for this movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie starts off slow—the Bennet family doesn’t appear onscreen for 15 minutes. But things quickly start to get interesting.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies provides a perfect blend of the modern-day zombie apocalypse and the 19th century Austen era. One of the most interesting aspects for Pride and Prejudice fans is the way this film weaves lines from the novel into an apocalyptic setting. When Mr. Collins (Matt Smith) asks the Bennet family which one of his cousins he should thank for the delicious meal, Mr. Bennet (Charles Dance) replies, “My daughters are trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.”
James stands out as Elizabeth Bennet for her independent nature and expert fighting skills. In one of her more notable lines, she says, “I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring.” Riley takes some getting used to as Mr. Darcy, owing to his raspy voice and youth. But by the time the movie was finished, I was more satisfied with his portrayal.
Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies follows Austen’s novel very closely. The only main additions are the zombie scenes, obviously. These scenes are not as common as I thought they would be. They also weren’t too gory. For fans of the novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will come as a sharp contrast to the BBC and film adaptation. For those who haven’t read the novel, the plot may seem a little disorganized.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not a movie to be taken too seriously. Rather, it should be seen for what it is—a reimagining of a classic novel with a post-apocalyptic twist.