Pride + Prejudice + Zombies ~ Review

I loved Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies the moment it arrived on bookshelves. It was an irreverent tangle of Jane Austen and zombies in a cocktail so absurd you couldn’t help but laugh. When the Bennet sisters retired to the Dojo to practice the deadly arts in hopes of battling the scourge of unmentionables yet still childishly scheme to find wealthy suitors you can’t help but smile. But that was 2009 when the mashup was new. Seven years later with countless books, movies and even tv series, the mashup is not as fresh or funny. It’s a pity. Seven years ago this movie would have killed.

The cast of P+P+Z keep too much of stiff upper lip amongst the chaos and never seem to be in on the joke – save for the foppish Matt Smith. The overall tone is just too serious. The music is too important. The lighting is too severe. And the limited gore is never quite fun. Perhaps its the dull script or the plodding direction but the film never quite soars like it should.

It’s a tough order to fill and I can see why they struggled to bring this to the screen through many versions, directors, and casts (at one point, Natalie Portman was set to star and Academy Award-nominated David O. Russell to direct). While P+P+Z is not an outright train wreck, it’s still not a victory. If you happen to like Jane Austen’s work, period zombie films, or the lovely Lily James then it is worth a stream on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Otherwise the fantastic book is still available and worth a read.