Though I’ve never actual read Pride and Prejudice–I know, *le gasp*–it is one of my favorite cinematic romantic stories. I always applaud the rendition starting Colin Firth, but I am particularly partial to Keira Knightley’s and Matthew MacFadyen’s take. When Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was announced, I was quite excited for it. I had already fallen in love with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and was excited to see the next cinematic rendition of Seth Grahame-Smith’s brainchild.
I definitely wanted to see it in theatres and considering I had no Valentine’s Day plans this past February, I took myself to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Nachos and Crunch-a-Bunch in hand, I sat in a theatre with roughly a dozen other people; a few couples amongst us, but I hardly noticed, even on a day when my single status is extra noticeable. I was too curious on how zombies were going to interwoven to such a romantic classic and if it was going to be as badass as I hoped it would be and not the flop that I feared.
Hint: it was as badass as I thought it was going to be.
I awaited the day for it to be released on DVD eagerly. I don’t think I’ve been so excited or counted down to a DVD release in a long time. I bought it the same day it came out and watched in with my Mom a few weekends later, curious to see her take on it. A lover of Pride and Prejudice but not a fan of zombies at all, I wanted to see if the film could possibly sway her at all. Here is why I hoped it would:
The film truly does do a fantastic job at blending the classic with the grotesque. Even if you aren’t a fan of zombies (I’m not opposed to them, yet I’m not going to see every zombie film that comes out), you have to appreciate how well-woven the zombie lore was integrated into the past world of husband-searching and crafting-the-perfect-wife. The film’s start, with the voiceover about a lady’s need to master both the feminine arts and the martial arts, followed the wonderful “storybook illustration” piece, narrated by Mr. Bennet to his daughters, that explained how the zombies came to fruition and strength, made the inclusion of the zombies feel very natural and created the expectation that both women and men were required to help fend off against the horde. As the Bennet sisters sat cleaning their guns while their mother fussed over trying to find them husbands, I was amused and intrigued, and immediately felt comfortable within the new world surrounding the Bennet household.
The casting was perfect. With amazing stars such as Charles Dance as Mr. Bennet and Lena Headley as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I felt it was impossible not to be badass. Yet the film wasn’t afraid of humor, often poking fun at itself, most notably with Mr. Collins fantastic portrayal by Matt Smith (who was my Mom’s favorite character) or the saucy portrayal of Mrs. Bennet, played by Sally Phillips. Of course, Lily James did fantastic playing a feisty, independent Elizabeth Bennet. I can’t imagine a more perfect casting than her.
And then, of course, there’s Mr. Darcy.
He’s played by Sam Riley, who I thought was utterly perfect. I’d never been exposed to Riley before, but it was hard not to fall in love with him as every woman falls in love with Darcy. His dark voice, his closed-off mysteriousness, his attractiveness, his skill with a blade and his respect for a woman who is his equal…yeah, I was easily swooning.
Not only did I love the intricate and natural weaving between two narratives, but I also love the life given–pun intended–to the zombie narrative to breathe its own story within the classic tale. The religious interweaving regarding the apocalypse and the Four Horsemen, plus the zombies’ abilities to hide their infection, the stages of the infection in relation to the ingesting of brains and the ability to stagnate the infection through the use of pig brains, all created an interesting possibility of coexistence that I didn’t expect. Personally, I also loved the gore incorporated, though I didn’t think my Mom would be too fond of it. It wasn’t overwhelming or overdone, but still present enough to make the nature of the film and the war going on within it apparent.
Overall, this film exceeded my expectations and easily fulfilled my hopes. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. I laughed, I jumped, I swooned and I cried, even just a tad. Regardless of your take on zombies, if you’re a fan of Austen’s classic, I think you should give it a chance. If you love zombies, then by all means, enjoy. Though I’ve yet to read any of Seth Grahame-Smith’s works, I hope he continues to add a darker taint to the classic stories and characters we love. I certainly adore the films that result from his creativity and I thank him for them.
Oh and my Mom said she liked it. *fistpump*