They’re two extensively different genres on their own, zombie flicks and romance movies, but a combination like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies somehow makes so much sense.
In 19th century Britain, the 5 Bennett sisters must protect themselves from a growing zombie plague, whilst facing the pressures of an even greater challenge – marriage. Based on the novel by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a really clever concept, and the best part is that it actually makes sense. A well-thought out backstory to explain the Victorian reality (that the Black Plague led to the Zombie Plague), as well as some great characterisation, spectacular make-up effects and frequent but awesome fight scenes made sure that the zombie aspect of the film felt authentic, rather than shoehorned in.
Pride and Prejudice’s iconic love story and relationships, however, were not overlooked; the sisterly bond between the five Bennett sisters was so honest, loving yet competitive, and super badass, particularly as they fought to protect each other’s lives and hearts from the perils of love and zombies. Jane and Mr Bingley’s relationship was very sweet, and by the end of the film, even a Pride and Prejudice cynic would believe in Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s love for each other.
Though the two genres blended quite well together, the zombie aspects of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies were not very creative. As a romance, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is quite inventive, classic yet complex; but as a zombie film it didn’t add much to the genre – it was very much a typical zombie apocalypse, Antichrist, pig brains to suppress hunger film, which has been done to death (pardon the pun). For those new to the zombie genre (like myself), the zombie plot was satisfactory, but for those with experience in the genre the film isn’t very inventive, even cheesy, at times.
Above all, Pride and Prejudice is about the characters, and the addition of zombies doesn’t change this. Lily James is stunning as Elizabeth Bennett, all class, but badass, and a great representation of a powerful woman who won’t change for marriage. Her Mr Darcy is Sam Riley, brooding but handsome, and he and James have solid chemistry, as do Douglas Booth (the most attractive Mr Bingley ever seen) and Bella Heathcote as Charles and Jane. But the best performance by far was Matt Smith; he was the perfect Mr Collins, pompous and camp, and it was hilarious to watch him with the Bennett sisters.
There is a scene in the film where Elizabeth and Mr Darcy fight each other physically, as they argue over Charles and Jane’s relationship. Filled with action and romance, laced with both sexual tension and hatred, this scene is a perfect summation of the mixed influences of the film. Though the zombie side of the film could’ve been more inventive, the two genres mixed surprisingly well, and Pride and Prejudice shows that combining influences and doing something a bit left of field can creative something that’s very interesting to watch.
And here’s my list of the top 5 films and TV shows starring the cast of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:
- Cinderella – Lily James
- Game of Thrones – Lena Headey and Charles Dance
- Doctor Who – Matt Smith
- Downton Abbey – Lily James
- The Longest Ride – Jack Huston