Butchering a literary classic by adding hordes of ghoulish undead generally isn’t be the wisest approach for a film. With a dismal box office gross and even worse critical reception, just look at “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” as an example.
Fortunately, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” manages to be an enjoyable departure from its source material, with plenty of violent action and great humor that takes center stage despite its flaws in the essentials of film.
Lily James (“Cinderella”) plays Elizabeth Bennet, the prideful main character from the classic romance by Jane Austen. During a zombie uprising, she must put pride aside to work with the ever-dreamy Mr. Darcy, played by Sam Riley (“Maleficent”), to stop the zombie hoards from taking over England.
The commitment from all of the actors to this juxtaposed and comedic premise is quite impressive. The comedy is a product of the passionate acting performed by the cast.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is absolutely hilarious. Whether it is mocking Jane Austen’s book or embracing its self-aware nature, the majority of the film’s humor hits the proverbial nail on the head.
This is especially true from Matt Smith (“Doctor Who”), who’s appearance as Parson Collins manages to somehow improve the film’s established comedic stride from the first half, after he appears on-screen during the film’s second half.
His performance is perfect, keeping the awkwardness of the original character while giving his own flair to the role. Every scene in the film that contains Collins is only made better the moment he gleefully enters the set.
Unfortunately, while the commitment from the actors is amazing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the performances are top notch. Some of the acting does fall short and occasionally sinks below the level of awful, especially in the case of the actresses that play the younger Bennet sisters.
Furthermore, the cinematography simply does not work in the film’s favor. In fact, the camera work ranges from bland and uninspired to just terrible.
The editing wasn’t as tight as it should have been for such a quick film, leaving many of scenes with a decidedly awkward feeling. Too many jokes and emotions were quickly ruined due to strange camera angles or shots that last far too long.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” really is a good film, and the commitment from the actors to the movie’s premise cannot be dismissed. While it does occasionally struggle on a technical level, it’s still an incredibly fun, unique and violent comedy, and should be seen by any fan of Jane Austen, or a good old monster killing romp.
Score: 7.5 / 10.0