Jane Austen would have loved the movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It takes the plot, characters and time period of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the Zombie Apocalypse. Mr.and Mrs. Bennet are trying to find suitable husbands of wealth and breeding for their 5 unmarried daughters, despite the fact that England is overrun with zombies.
The upper classes are stoically maintaining their traditions, while at the same time desperately fighting for their very survival. What Jane Austen would love about Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, is that the women are the expert zombie fighters. Mr. Bennet made sure that all of his daughters were trained in martial arts, swordplay and firearms.
When zombies attack; the women do not stand by meekly and watch the men fight. The women take the forefront in the assault, and wield swords. Of course, they do this while still attired in the type of long gowns that a proper young lady would wear.
The movie did not do very well at the box office. Probably because most people who watch zombie movies have never read any of Jane Austen’s works. Regular zombie movie lovers may find the plot too complex to follow. At the same time, Jane Austen readers may find the blood and gore of the zombie scenes a little too much to take.
On the other hand, we loved it. You know exactly from the title what the movie is going to be about. We found that it added a fun new twist to the tired old zombie genre. The acting is also very good. The movie is never played as a spoof and never tires to be camp.
Even with the zombies present, the movie keeps the gist of the novel’s plot and characters. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcey pursue their tumultuous relationship. Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley fall in and out an in love.
The actors are all superb. Lily James is terrific as the sword swinging Elizabeth, and Bella Heathcote is great as her sister Jane. Sam Riley is perfect as the brooding Mr. Darcey, and Doughlas Both is wonderful as the handsome and wealthy Mr. Bingley.
There is even a mini Game Of Thrones reunion. Lena Headey (Better known as Cersie Lannister) is Mr. Darcey’s zombie-fighting aunt. In Price & Prejudice & Zombies Charles Dance is now head of the Bennet family instead of being head of the Lannisters. Even Wilko Johnson, who plays The Executioner on Game Of Thrones, shows up as a henchman in Price & Prejudice & Zombies. It seems like a bunch of the actors from Game Of Thrones said, “Hey, we have some time off, let’s go make a zombie movie.”
Still, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is not for everyone. Some people may think that combing a classic novel by Jane Austen with a silly zombie movie is like having a fine bottle of French Chardonnay with a bowl of Fruit Loops. But why not give it a try? You may find they go together better that you imagined.