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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Film Review

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by Sydneyfunmum (subscribe)
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Published April 29th 2016
Bad ass Bennett
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Bennett sisters. Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Website

Every so often there comes a movie that is so bad, it's good - and it becomes what is known as a cult classic. This is that kind of a movie. It has romance, horror, zombies, corsets, and martial arts. It's weird, zany, suspenseful and fun.

Having bombed out at the movie theatres a few months ago, its DVD release is imminent (US release date May 31, 2016. Australia - 8 June 2016) and I would urge everyone, but in particular, Game of Thrones-loving, Whovian fanciers who haven't seen it, to give it a go. This is the movie to hire and gather round your big screen TV with your friends and a big bowl of popcorn to groan at and laugh till your sides hurt.

Also, any Austen fan who doesn't mind some pretty broad liberties being taken with the beloved plot of Pride and Prejudice will be pleasantly surprised at how Austenesque this manages to be, and is bound to get some chuckles from this movie too. Surprisingly, it manages to keep a lot of the original dialogue from Pride and Prejudice in it. And yet, it cleverly weaves the zombie plotline through it in a way that is surprisingly seamless.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Website

Why would fans of the epic Game of Thrones series enjoy this? Well, firstly I think there are a fair few similarities between White Walkers and zombies, so if that's your thing, this movie has zombies in spades. However, I should note that those gore-loving die hard zombie-movie fans may find this a bit tame - the gore is kept to a minimum as far as zombie movies go.

More relevantly for Game of Thrones fans, there are two major characters from the series who play characters in this movie.

Lena Headley, otherwise known as Cersei in Game of Thrones, plays none other than Lady Catherine De Bourgh. Given her chillingly powerful performance in Game of Thrones as the matriarch of the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms, it's not much of a stretch playing another extremely wealthy and powerful woman. But this time she has an eye patch and is known to be pretty handy with a sword. Lena hams this character up something chronic, and it's clear she had a lot of fun playing this part.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Lena Headley as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Facebook

Mr Bennett is played by Charles Dance, otherwise known as Tywen Lannister in Game of Thrones.

For the Whovians amongst you, Mr Collins is played by Matt Smith - and he makes a wonderfully quirky and creepy Mr Collins. Well worth a watch.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Matt Smith as Mr Collins. Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Facebook

So if it's so much fun, why did it bomb in the theatres? I think it's because at the outset, it sounds just plain daft. And it's not clear who the target audience is. Austen lovers? Horror movie fans? Comedy fans? Well, actually, I think it's suitable for all the above, provided they have a healthy sense of the ridiculous. The thing about this movie is that, while it's not taking itself even remotely seriously, the plot isn't actually that bad and it maintains enough gravitas that the shocks are still sufficiently surprising to make the audience gasp.

In terms of the comedy, a lot of spoof movies are just one cheap laugh after another all strung hastily together with hopes that that will be enough to make the viewer forget that there isn't a plot. The plot of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, while somewhat implausible, has got consistency and continuity and the story arc actually kind of works. I think this is pretty impressive given the author has taken the plot of Pride and Prejudice and proceeded to insert zombies into it.

There are laughs, there is romance, and there is enough shock value in parts to make you gasp. It's a comedy horror period piece. And it works unbelievably well considering the premise.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Website

I did attempt to read the original book of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, but I found it somewhat disjointed and disappointing. I found the movie adaptation far superior and highly enjoyable.

For fans of Pride and Prejudice the original novel/ BBC TV series, there are some wonderful moments. Yes, it even has a Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in his wet shirt scene. And the scene where Mr Darcy gives Elizabeth his first arrogant proposal is hysterically funny, because our zombie-slaying heroine responds in a slightly more physical way to his arrogance - she tries to kick his head in.

Arming the Bennett sisters with vampire-slaying equipment gives ample opportunity for hiking up skirts to reach daggers secreted in garters, as well as bosom-heaving fights. I didn't notice this personally, but my husband did.

The more I think about the movie, the more I realise how much I enjoyed it - unwillingly, side-splittingly, despite myself. The acting is pretty good most of the time. It is occasionally overdone, but this is somewhat necessary. Some of the dialogue is cringeworthy, but actually more of the time, it is laugh out loud funny.

I loved Austen's original book, Pride and Prejudice. I loved the BBC television adaptation. And I love this version. Seriously, hire this movie, and watch it with your friends. You'll be in for a very fun evening.

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Why? Comedy horror romance. Something for everyone.
Where: On DVD soon
Your Comment
Well written, but not my style of movie genre.
by Pete Petterson (score: 2|512) 1810 days ago
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