Pride And Prejudice And Zombies – if that title appeals to you then you’ll likely enjoy director Burr Steers’ adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Jane Austen monster mash. It has a cast of young up and comers Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Houston and Douglas Booth, while Charles Dance and Lena Headey must have filmed their roles in a weekend break from Game of Thrones. Also popping up is former Doctor Who Matt Smith, which helps make the whole endeavor feel like the crazy fantasy of a sci-fi/horror geek.
It’s likely if you’re an Austen aficionado you’ll be annoyed at how this turns the novelists work into a horror action adventure. Is it any good? Not really, but everyone commits to the stupidity of it all. Lily James is Elizabeth Bennett, the feisty heroine who romances Sam Riley’s Mister Darcy between slaying zombies. The duo bicker and fight in this alternate 19th Century-set romp and just enough of Austin’s work is left intact to make these feel like it might have been better as a straight-faced adaptation of the novel.
Riding the success of the zombie movie craze, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies feels like it has come out five years too late. In fact, the film was first announced back in 2010 with David O. Russell in the director’s chair and Natalie Portman in the lead role. Russell bailed and went on to helm a selection of Oscar-winning films but Portman remained as a producer. It’s a tricky movie to get right, and Burr Steers manages to get enough of the tone spot-on but it just can’t shake the feeling that it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of a narrative.
Pride And Prejudice And Zombies won’t go down as a classic within the zombie genre. It’s as silly as you would imagine but it lacks real bite (a no-no for a zombie movie) – you just never feel like there’s a real threat. You might decide to catch this out of curiosity, but you’ll definitely feel disappointed by the time the end credits roll.
The blu-ray of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies comes with a decent smattering of extras. You get a selection of interview snippets and behind the scenes material where everyone talks about how much fun they’ve had. They all seem so sincere that it makes you wish the film was better. The disc also comes with gag reels and deleted scenes.