Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, film review: An energetic 'mash-up' of Jane Austen and George Romero

(15)​ Burr Steers, 108 mins. Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Matt Smith

Geoffrey Macnab
Thursday 11 February 2016 20:45
Comments
Lily James in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’
Lily James in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

Zombies come to 19th-century Hertfordshire in this energetic and occasionally inspired "mash-up" of Jane Austen and George Romero. The trick is to play the film straight. Adapted from the Seth Grahame-Smith novel, it is a handsomely made affair that shows off the beauty of English meadows and country houses to fine effect. When the cast are not shooting off zombies' heads, they give performances that would pass muster in a BBC costume drama.

Sam Riley makes a dashing and bad-tempered Darcy while Lily James is very well cast as the headstrong Elizabeth Bennet: both an ingenue and a Shaolin warrior. Matt Smith gives the most overtly comic performance as the creepy, scone-obsessed clergyman Mr Collins, as chauvinistic as he is cowardly.

The downside is that the parodic elements undermine the drama, and the drama undermines the parody. Whenever someone tries to express their innermost feelings, they're likely to be interrupted by zombies. The scenes of the undead being decapitated become repetitive.

Despite its production values, the film plays like a 1990s Comic Strip Presents spoof. It is lively and entertaining early on but once we get accustomed to its strange mix of gentility and blood-letting, the magic dissipates.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in