This was the first on my 2016 list of movies I wanted to see and it did not disappoint. I admit that I’m biased – it’s a zombie film and it’s British. I loved the idea of this film so much that I might have decided that I liked the film before I even saw it. It’s so clever! What I was not expecting was how perfectly the theme of Zombie Apocalypse could be patched into a Jane Austin novel. It’s a parody but it actually stands on its own as a fully functional film.
Now I have to read the book. Not just the Seth Grahame-Smith novel but possibly even the original Pride and Prejudice that it was taking the piss out of. As I sat through this film I found myself wondering how this story could be told without zombies? Most of the Jane Austin bits were obvious, it’s true, and of course the Zombie bits are clearly what was added but there’s some in-between stuff too that’s a little less clear. It’s a little embarrassing but I’ve always found the classics a bit dry, so adding zombies turns out to be ideal in holding my attention in what might otherwise have been less appealing genre for me.
There were so many ways this could have gone wrong. Zombie movies have their own pitfalls and it’s easy to fall into Apocalypse tropes. Same goes with period pieces and also parodies. There’s also the pitfall of hybrid movies that so many have fallen into, where the disparate genres play off each other in such a way that it weakens the film. PPZ doesn’t feel torn between period piece and horror, it successfully integrates both and elements of one feed right into elements of the other. One thing though – it wasn’t really that funny (I was the the only one laughing).
Visually this film was very good, especially some of the makeup and special effects. The sets were beautiful. I really liked the acting too, especially Matt Smith who cracked me up repeatedly during his performance. Sam Riley and Jack Huston were also perfect in their roles. Sadly there were no shirtless attractive men (they actually set up the chance and then chose not to. I was so mad). The pacing was very well done too – at nearly 2 hours long it didn’t feel like it should be any longer or shorter.
Of all the movie zombies I’ve seen, the zombies of this film are one of my favorites. It always bothered me that the transition from human to zombie was always absolutely black and white. PPZ introduces a halfway stage that just makes sense to me. Plus, maybe it’s just me, I love the idea that zombies can talk and have some remnant of intelligence.
So is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies worth watching? Yes. You might not like it as much as I did, but it’s still a very solid film. Probably you don’t need to see it on the big screen. I’m going to watch this again, I think, after I read the source material.