When I saw the poster of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” I thought something is seriously wrong in the world. What is next, I wondered, “Romeo and Juliet and the curse of the Werewolf”? “War and Peace and the Martians?” (oh no… perhaps I have already said too much!). However, I try to watch every action, adventure and thriller film I find on cinema and “P&P&Z” would be no exception.
The movie starts with England being invaded by zombies during the 18th century and a family of five sisters struggling to fend them off while, at the same time, searching for wealthy husbands! There is also an army officer who is prejudiced against people of lower social classes and is dedicated to hunting the undead wherever they pop their rotten heads. Naturally, he is bound to fall in love with the wildest of the sisters. The story is crazy but works thanks to the humor and smart direction, for example, when the officer kills a zombie we see him through the monster’s eyes; or watch the funny make-up of the zombie woman in the bedroom. The dialogues are funny too: I loved how the youngest sister, Lydia, teased Elizabeth about being incapable to attract men or how their mother introduced them to possible future husbands without any discretion.
The cast is good too. Lily James plays the heroine who matches Darcy’s pride with her own and is also a great zombie killer. Sam Riley has the right face and voice for the dark, fearless officer while Bella Heathcote is cute and likable as Jane. As for the action, I enjoyed seeing the undead having their heads explode whenever they were shot by the primitive pistols of that era.
Unfortunately, the movie’s second half is disappointing. The script focuses on two characters only, Darcy and Elizabeth, and the rest, for example Jane, are forgotten. Instead of continuing as a crazy action/comedy the movie tries to mix other elements, such as drama and horror (the scene in the church of Lazarus is atrocious) and fails. Important events (the zombies’ advancement) happen off screen and the plot jumps from one spot to the next, especially concerning the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy. The action is poor (the siege of London is very bad), and the same goes for the final battle, which probably was shot in an hour. Generally, none of the actors had any training and their hand to hand combat is terribly lacking. Lastly, there is a prejudiced depiction of the clergy in the story.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” could be a masterpiece that future generations would admire, a new, enriched version of the classic novel. … All right, I am kidding. However, the movie is not the disaster I expected it to be, in fact, it made me laugh. Now I am convinced that you can turn anything into a watchable film as long as you have imagination, fast pacing, interesting direction and actors/actresses who fit their roles. If you see “P&P&Z” don’t miss the credits: there is a scene so ridiculous that it is hilarious!
Article by Dimitris