A period piece you can really sink your teeth into
Director Burr Steers, known for the film Pulp Fiction, is out with his newest work Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which hits theaters this weekend. While it’s a strange take on the classic work, it truly succeeds at being one of the funnier movies I’ve seen in the past year. It’s a period piece you can really sink your teeth into.
PPZ is based on the classic Jane Austen tale of a middle class family trying to work its way up in society. In the original tale, there are balls and parties to attend. In this version, that remains the case. However, instead of just gossiping ninny’s at the balls, you also have to worry about zombies showing up and eating your brains.
Set in the 1800’s, the cast is led by Lily James who plays Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of the story. Miss James was recently seen as the title character in Disney’s live action Cinderella. Her love interest, Mr. Darcy is played by Sam Riley. Mister Riley was recently seen in Disney’s live action Maleficent as Diaval the crow.
In this telling of the classic, within weeks of the black plague outbreak, those who had perished, due to this particular outbreak, began coming back to life. The few that were left did everything they could to survive. The Bennets were a middle class family trying to work their way up in society. They had five lovely daughters, all of whom had been sent to China to learn how to fight the zombies. There, they learned how to be domestic, but also how to fight. A skill that proved very handy for these girls.
Even with everyone dying around them, Mrs. Bennet (Sally Phillips) made it her sole purpose in life to marry off the daughters to rich husbands before they either became old maids or were eaten by zombies. That parades a series of men through the Bennet household, such as Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth), Parson Collins (Matt Smith), and George Wickam (Jack Houston).
It’s such an incredibly strange movie that I’m not sure I can give a proper synopsis, because the plot is just so dark and hysterical. I don’t want to give too much away, which is easily done with this one. I also feel like they let the plot get away from them at some points in an effort to be funny, but not unforgivably so. Essentially, if you know anything about the original, add a dash of suspense due to zombies.
If you know me, you know how I feel about campy horror things. I love them, if they’re done well. More often than not, directors try to be too silly and make their film utterly unwatchable. Director Steers did an impeccable job of toeing that line. It has been such a long time that I’ve actually enjoyed something as ridiculous as watching a story that takes classic lines from a literary classic and peppers in zombie slaying. Elizabeth Bennet was the original bad-ass of literature, but to see her not only take on society and their rules, but do so while massacring hordes of zombies makes her all the more attractive. The costume designer, Julian Day, ought to be awarded for his choices of dress for the young ladies in this film. The clothes, while very functional, were incredibly flattering. Elizabeth Bennet was very beautiful and effeminate and Mr. Darcy always looked very dapper, but very wry, as he should. The makeup was some of the best I’ve seen in zombie productions.
I’ll be honest: while there were many things to hate about the movie, I got over them and truly enjoyed it for what it was. If you’re trying to look at it through a lens of craftsmanship, you’ve come to the wrong show. It received its comedy from the absolute ridiculousness of the zombie interactions. This is a campy, absurdist film that provides several laughs where it feels laughter shouldn’t be. It’s very smart humor, so if that isn’t your thing, you may want to skip it. If you enjoy things like Big Bang Theory or any sort of British humor, go see this film. If you like zombies, go see this film. It’s incredibly funny and highly enjoyable. It’s absolutely going to do well with the Valentine’s crowd, I feel like, because the couple humor is on point, plus it really has something to offer to pretty much anyone’s taste. I’m not saying break down the doors at Regal, but I am saying if you’re even thinking about a movie, this one is absolutely worth your while.
Score – 85%