I was intrigued by the idea of this movie, how often does such a classic tale as this get mashed up with a zombie outbreak. It all seemed very silly and a great deal of fun and quite a unique idea. However things went very quickly south once the opening credits started.
I have to say I couldn’t stand this film and it isn’t often I say that about a movie. It isn’t that it’s bad like many modern day remakes or it’s poorly made or some low budget crap. It’s a big production with a big name cast but it just doesn’t work, it isn’t funny, scary nor is it the slightest bit entertaining.
It hardly made me laugh, once you get past the joke of mingling zombies into rural England several hundred years ago it very quickly stops being in the slightest bit funny. The zombies are shockingly bad and there is no element of fear in what is supposed to be a horror movie in parts. The whole thing just staggers from one scene to the next and it is so bad that I fell asleep watching it even though it was lunchtime that I saw it. The fact that there was me and about 10 other people there tells you a lot about how bad and tragic this truly is.
It is only redeemed by Matt Smith who puts in a superb turn and is one of the few positives that, no in fact the only positive, that can be drawn out from this tragic waste of film. I urge you not to watch this film, I truly detested it and it could only have been worse if it was Irish, that is how bad it is. There is nothing good to be said about this movie at all, it doesn’t work and it fails on all accounts. I wanted it to end and I just stopped caring about what happened next. I stuck with it hoping it would get better and it doesn’t.
Go and watch Goosebumps. You will thank me.
Needless to say I’m unacquainted with Jane Austin’s original novel, In my youth was always more tempted and interested in the period works of Dickens and Stoker. I’ve also not read the original Pride Prejudice and Zombies book, finding the entire idea of a ‘mashup’ novel a bit of a cop-out and the premise of the whole story somewhat (if I’m honest) stupid.
But a horror is a horror and it finds me at the local multiplex hiding out from a storm with coffee and low expectations for this new British comedy/period drama/zombie fest. I think I was probably expecting a so-so drama with a few slow-moving walkers in the background, and boy was I wrong. So very very wrong.
Starting with the films tense and brilliant cold opening depicting Darcy using flies to hunt a fresh zombie, already I was hooked. Followed by a (quite brilliant) back story and title sequence I was already taken back by what I had seen and I was only 10 minutes in. “Now, don’t drop the ball” I said under my breath as I found myself facing a situation that keeps happening – a promising start to a film slowly turning into durge. BUT – It didn’t, and not only did it not fail it got better. It was violent, funny, well written and a bit gory. The film moved along for the following two hours, granted sometimes not at an even pace but enough to maintain focus. The action and fight scenes were expertly choreographed and the design of the zombie makeup was some of the best Ive seen from recent memory.
Needless to say when a film includes Charles Dance you don’t need to point out how good the casting was. However a special mention must be given to Matt Smith who totally and singlehandedly stole the film. His comic turn as the slimy cousin is such a joy to watch you not only wish it was a larger part, but you struggle to think of an actor better suited for the role.
I’ve seen a fair few zombie movies, and normally they do nothing for me. What Pride Prejudice and Zombies did differently is move the time period to a number of years after the zombie apocalypse. Gone is the useless and dull characters screaming and running round like chickens – instead people are now used to the way of life and deal with the situation they find themselves in. I often find films like this are able to offer much more interesting stories.
But is it horror or drama – yes and no. Like the story Pride Prejudice and Zombies is an honest mix of action, period drama and horror. Probably in perfect amounts to alienate fans of each individual genre.
Its fun, well written and brilliantly acted. Even well worth a second watch on the big screen.
Pride and Prejudice And Zombies is on DVD from 27th June 2016.