Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) – reviewed by George

Frankly I expected not to like this movie very much, but I was wrong – I liked it quite a bit. The story: Lizzie is independent, Darcy doesn’t like that and is a bit of a prig, George Wickham captures Lizzie’s trust, Bingham falls for Lizzie’s sister Jane, Mrs. Bennet is flighty and totally devoted to obtaining rich husbands for her five daughters, Mr. Bennet is the voice of reason in the household, Bingham runs off with the youngest Bennet daughter Lydia, etc, etc.
We all know and love the story and like to see it done well. I did not think it could be done well in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but they totally succeeded. All the tropes we want to see, plus the action and excitement of zombies, zombie attacks, zombie traps, and more.
Lily James plays Elizabeth Bennet and gives her usual capable performance, plus martial arts. Sam Riley plays Mr. Darcy and is as purposefully rude and stuffy as he should be, until he falls in love with Elizabeth. Bella Heathcote plays Jane Bennet opposite Douglas Booth’s Mr. Bingham, and Ellie Bamber plays innocent pawn Lydia Bennet. Jack Huston is very effective as George Wickham with the hidden character which emerges with disastrous results (more disastrous here than in the book or other movie versions). Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are played by Sally Phillips and Charles Dance, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Bingham’s aunt, is played by Lena Headey.
This is so much more entertaining than “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”. There’s just no comparison, even though the idea behind the films is so similar.
It’s a constant that “polite” society finds the Bennet girls wanting, but here that is strengthened by the fact that it is de rigeur that young women learn the martial arts of Japan and of course speak Japanese. The Bennets were taught in China and speak Chinese; the reason being that Mr. Bennet was knowledgeable enough to recognize that China had the better system of defense, and so his girls are exceptional warriors. There are good touches like that throughout; for instance, the zombies eat pig brains because once they taste human brains the transformation to ravening, monstrous beast will be complete.
It was really fun to see Lizzie and Darcy through a completely different lens, and I like this treatment of zombies much better than “The Walking Dead”. The script is credited to Burr Steers, Jane Austen, & Seth Grahame-Smith, and the film was directed by Burr Steers.

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