Movie Review: Pride And Prejudice and Zombies

11452529_oriOnly six weeks into the new year and already we’ve had several high profile horror releases thrown at us. January and February have pretty much grown into the dumping ground for genre fare that is expected to come and go pretty quickly and it appears that 2016 will further solidify that thinking.

Thing is – the two films we’ve been treated to this year haven’t been complete stinkers. Don’t get me wrong, neither of them are going to be on my Top Ten list but still – I’ve been entertained.

This past week brought us the much maligned Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and while far from perfect – it’s worth a look.

A little back-story – I wasn’t a particular fan of the book from author Seth Grahame-Smith. That could have had something to do with the order in which I read it. I dove into his second horror / history mash up first, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and I freaking loved it (the book – not the flick) and was pretty excited to then dig into Pride and Prejudice. Turns out it wasn’t my cup of tea.

So, I went into the film expecting to pretty much have the same reaction and instead – came out kind of liking the final product. While for the most part following the happenings of the novel from which it is pulled the strong acting chops of those involved really brought to life the characters that in the book I found to be rather one dimensional and flat. Major kudos to Lily James and Sam Riley who portray Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and around whom the majority of the tale revolves, a love affair grows amidst an ongoing zombie plague.44-pride-prejudice-zombies

Some attempts are made to grow the now massively popular zombie lore and unfortunately end up coming off as silly or worse yet, just plain stupid but the good news is – at its core this is really not a zombie film – it’s a character drama where every now and again a zombie wanders in and get slaughtered in all its CGI glory. Actually the zombies serve as more of a distraction that a focal point and that really is a bit of a shame as the notion of inserting the living dead into a classic piece of literature is intriguing and fun and unfortunately is just not well served in the particular piece.

What does play well though is the cat and mouse game that ends up taking place between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as a relationship based at first on disdain then on respect and ultimately on love weaves its way through an otherwise rather clunky story. James and Riley have some truly great moments on screen together – the fight scene in the bedroom being of particular note. Also, the scene with Elizabeth plucking some flies out of mid air is funny and well designed.

pride-prejudiceA lot of attention was paid to making this period piece look the part and this is another area that they succeed wonderfully. Costume and art direction is spot on – even the CGI in this department is passable.

When push comes to shove – if you’re going to PPZ because you are in the mood for a kick ass zombie flick – you’re barking up the wrong tree with this one. Given its PG-13 rating and its basic lack of any practical effects – this one is DOA as a zombie flick but – if you’re in the mood for a well acted, sometimes adequately directed and at times rather funny scripted period piece – there are worse ways to waste your time. For me, I ended up coming out of the theater pleasantly surprised at the end result but not feeling like I had just watched a horror film. Go into this one with your eyes wide open and you might just end up enjoying yourself.

PPZ is in theaters now but I wouldn’t wait too long if you want to catch it on the big screen – this one is destined for a quick home video escape.

2.5 out of Five Stars.

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Dave Dreher About Dave Dreher

A life long Northeast Ohioan – Dave Dreher was born and raised in North Canton Ohio and still calls the area home to this day. Graduating with honors from High School with a degree in Media Communications his life took a bit of a strange twist when be pursued and built a successful career as a professional Chef but the world of entertainment was always in his blood. After raising his family he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and in 2015 earned a Master’s degree in Journalism. An active writer, photographer and podcaster Dave works for several of the nets largest entertainment portals. An avid horror movie fan and lover of Rock / Metal music – he looks forward to bringing Ohio fans all the excitement that the area has to offer. Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/drehershouseofhorrors

Twitter - @savinifan

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