Review by Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT’S PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES ABOUT?
Jane Austen’s classic tale of class strife and romance is re-imagined in the context of a Victorian undead apocalypse.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B-)
It should come as no surprise that a film titled Pride and and Prejudice and Zombies struggles to establish a tone. Based on the book of the same name, the movie shifts gears regularly, and at times awkwardly, between tender romance, horror, action, drama, and comedy, giving the affair a sense of whiplash. Of course, the disparity between Jane Austen and terror is the whole point, but it ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The individual elements work quite well: the zombie effects are memorable, the action is hard-hitting, and the romance connects as well as it can with a limited running time and frequent zombie-slaying diversions.
The cast is excellent. Lily James (Cinderella) makes for a charming and butt-kicking Elisabeth Bennett while Sam Riley is more than adequate as a gravelly-voiced Mr. Darcy. Dr. Who‘s Matt Smith, as the foppish Parson Collins, nearly runs off with the movie with a marvelously funny performance. However, much of the socioeconomic subtext which anchors the original story is underdeveloped (along with many of the supporting roles) and some dramatic moments fall flat. Uneven as it is, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is still entertaining and an utterly unique cocktail.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is rated PG-13. There is no profanity or sexuality. There is plentiful zombie violence and a fair amount of gore for a PG-13 rated film, with bloody attacks, undead decapitations, limbs hacked off, and some frightful zombie effects (decaying faces, etc). Young women wear cleavage-revealing gowns.