Before even seeing Pride + Prejudice + Zombies, it would be understandable if there was a reasonable amount of trepidation in any movie goer’s mind. Certainly the book has done well with audiences, ranking as a best seller and averaging 3.7 and 3.6 stars out of five on Goodreads and Barnes & Noble respectively; however, with the last Seth Grahame-Smith novel turned movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, having been so poorly received despite even stronger literary reviews, questions would obviously arise in regards to how well his work would be able to translate to the silver screen. Namely, how well a director would be able to recreate the world, characters, and more importantly, tone, that he’d created.
Pride + Prejudice + Zombies: A Fresh Take on Old Classics
Fortunately, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies manages to avoid most of the traps that befell the Vampire Hunter. Scares are relatively scarce with only one moment that had the audience jumping out of their seats, but horror fans will be happy to know that the gore required for creating a CGI-realistic flesh-deteriorated zombie is fully on display.
In benefiting from Burr Steers comedic timing as a director, PPZ helps to mirror the tone of the book and avoid from becoming overly dark, although at times it does seem that some of the humor could end up going over the heads of the teenagers who will, no doubt, flock to see the movie given the film’s PG-13 rating.
This being said, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies manages to do what many superhero fans have been clamoring for, which is providing more female role models, for teen, and pre-teen, girls. With the exception of Sam Riley’s Mr. Darcy, the movie also manages to spin most practical action movie conventions on their heads as most of the fight scenes including major characters involve one or more of the Bennet girls getting involved in the altercation. While there are also many times where the strong will the girls display falters as a result of their boy crazy desire to get married to a handsome or wealthy (preferably both) gentleman, many will attribute this to the movie trying to be respectful to the original Austen story; however, given that most fans aren’t expecting an exact interpretation, it likely could have helped further the strong female role of these heroines had they not discussed giving up their weapons for the right man (which Elizabeth so strongly is against and was in the previews, so not technically a spoiler….) or had she also not had her own moment of fleeting fancy early on.
However, given the overall arc, there is a pleasant respect paid to Jane Austen’s work that will keep literary fans happy with the fresh take on the story, new fans will get to be introduced to classic literary figures (albeit a bit differently), and fans of gory horror will be pleasantly surprised by all the effects and violence brought upon by the zombie horde’s attacks. While Pride + Prejudice + Zombies likely won’t be nominated for Best Picture come time for next year’s Oscars, if you were planning on seeing a movie with some good action, humor laced throughout, and a strong plotline, you could definitely find it in Pride + Prejudice +Zombies.
Final Opinion: Recommended for Classic Literature, Zombie, and Action Fans, as well as those just looking to find strong leading female characters