Perhaps just as utterly ridiculous as its title might suggest, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a strange mixture of drama, comedy, action, and horror. The classic Jane Austen romance novel telling the complex relationship between Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) is updated for modern times, keeping the period setting, but pitting not jt within the world if a zombie apocalypse. While the romantic drama and action horror genres shouldn’t necessarily work, the film is wildly entertaining, and for lack of a better description it’s one of the most consistent things to come out of the 2016 film season.
Though the characters in general feel to be authentic albeit underdeveloped alter egos to their original likenesses, the cast seems to elevate the material from stylized pulp to a genuine character piece. Sam Riley and Lily James in particular are standouts, and while many of the supporting cast feels wildly underused, Matt Smith’s comic relief adds a lot to the film’s exposition. The pacing isn’t as solid as it could be, with a fair portion dedicated to exposition, and the climax never feels quite as exciting as it could be.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is by no means anything masterful, but it is very original and the nods to both he source material and the zombie genre make for a surprisingly clever film. Though there’s a fair amount of melodrama and ridiculous action, the film strikes a chord with its own silliness, and in being self aware it’s perhaps more entertaining than a legitimate attempt at drama would be. Grade: B-