Review – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Set on the familiar countryside estate, the Bennett family live a simple life. Mrs. Bennett worries about the wellness of her five daughters Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Catherine and Lydia. Getting older by the second, the Bennett siblings are approaching the marrying age, which usually means a financial gain for the Bennett’s. Mr. Bennett is equally concerned for his daughters. While the social elite train and study in Japan, China is a cost-effective solution and the Bennett girls have trained hard in the Orient. But, training for what? Well, the zombie apocalypse, of course. In one scene the girls don their best wares for an upcoming ball. There’s an equal amount of tightening and fastening of corsets and garters, along with sharpening of knives and polishing of muskets; making the girls truly as dangerous as they are pretty. 

I’ve been on the fence about Pride and Prejudice and Zombie, since the screening. The film effectively recalls all the elements of both Austen’s novel, as well as Grahame-Smith’s, but the novelty wears off after a short time. I felt cheated after becoming accustomed to zombies, traipsing about the lands; only to realise that, at the end of the day, this is Pride and Prejudice. (Screams) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may be a one trick pony, but for fans of the source materials, the film shouldn’t disappoint. Unless you’re like me, a fan of zombies, but not of Austen. 

The film plods along at a zombie’s pace, only to flood the screen with the undead; seemingly to remind you of why you’re here. There was one point of interest about the morality of zombies. If a zombie could subsist on the brains of other animals, could it keep up some level of humanity, or would it become a ravenous beast? The film want to believe it to be true, but never bothered to explore this ideal that could bring a truce and at least stall the apocalypse. 

Instead Pride and Prejudice and Zombies continues to milk its one trick, but only to a level of PG-13 grade violence. Which, is another point of interest. The film isn’t at all subtle about the level of violence portrayed. Death and pestilence are prevalent through the film. Bodies are burned, decapitated bludgeoned and worse; but none of it happens on screen. It’s as if the camera had a moral compass and automatically adjusted itself, to save the audience from witnessing a fatal blow. As a fan of the zombie genre, moves like that ruin the immersion. The ineffective use of the undead, made them seem like an afterthought, left me with just Pride and Prejudice. I probably would’ve skipped this film of the title were more accurately displayed as “Pride and Prejudice (w/ Zombies)”.

Verdict: D

Rated: PG-13 @ 108 minutes. 

Note: In 3D where available

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