cast: Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Lily James, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Aisling Loftus, Charles Dance, Jack Huston
directed by: Burr Steers
“To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things. Kind… well-read… and accomplished. But to survive in the world as WE know it, you’ll need… other qualities”
Almost four years ago, we were graced with “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, Seth Grahame-Smith’ crazy take on the beloved US president. The twist? Making Honest Abe a vampire hunter trained by a vampire. Well, that didn’t go too well on the silver screen with a pissed poor job of a script. This week, we get to see another one of Grahame-Smith adaptations. “Pride, Prejudice and Zombies” follows Jane Austen’s beloved novel which inspired cohorts of fans to master the art of fast-forwarding up to the scene where Colin Firth shows up in a dripping white shirt, but don’t get too excited.
The twist in the tale comes from the use of a zombies plague which infects the United Kingdom and paves the way to massive changes in the way young ladies and gentlemen are educated. We learn that the Bennet sisters were trained in the martial arts skills in China – apparently Japan was the country to go if you had a bigger inheritance – and spend their time, cleaning the countryside from the living dead.
And now we’re gonna get a cold shower in terms of what the script promised and what we were given. Burr Steers spends quite some time trying to put together an origin tale of how the zombies ended up walking on earth, what happened since they’ve spread all over the country and adds a little something in calling the almighty Apocalypse, the Horsemen and an Antichrist. Trust me, at that moment I was bouncing in my seat, excitedly waiting for a glimpse of the Horsemen/ or the Men in Black and the start of the final war. That didn’t happen as I had hoped…up to a point and I advice you not to leave the cinemas after the first set of end credits pop up.
Whomever saw one of the many adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” knows the story, the zombies added to the mix spice up a the classic tale but this doesn’t translate into a success. The actors seem to lack enthusiasm and their performances suffer from the stale script delivered for this insane ride. Lily James is cute and fierce, playing the canon Elizabeth Bennet, yet she doesn’t seem to make her performance shine in any way. Charles Dance and Lena Headey make an appearance – *cough* cameo – but nothing too fancy and the “fun” comes from the gentlemen. Matt Smith is clearly trying to break into the international scene and is willing to try almost anything to show he can do more than Doctor Who, Sam Riley’s Mr. Darcy is oozing with Christian Bale’s raspy voice but lacks all stamina and fascination the character possessed, Douglas Booth was fallen into a type-cast of sorts, playing the clumsy dandy, do try something else and there’s Jack Huston, all I can say is that he gives life to the most predictable character ever but offers a funny end credit scene.
“Pride, Prejudice and Zombies” needs to be accepted and watched for what it is: a funny, crazy take on Jane Austen classic and sadly, what it promised from the first teasers and up to the first half of the movie isn’t delivered – *cough* the Horsemen, the Apocalypse. Maybe Grahame-Smith has a sequel in the making: Sense, Sensibility and the Rise of the Antichrist. Well, there’s always room for werewolves and witches.
Edge and Back: 6/10