Film Bitch History
Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

Marriage Story Review

"They're saying this is for Adam Driver what Kramer vs Kramer was for Dustin Hoffman. More about him than about her.  Scarlett, to me, is the open question. By now it's Driver vs Phoenix for best actor." - Melchiades - Andrew

"Mini-shutout to Alda, whom I loved and thought did absolute wonders in his what, 3 or 4 scenes. Great review!" -Alex

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience




Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
« The DGA to Iñárritu... Again | Main | Film Bitch Awards: Diva and Sexpot Nominations »

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

Lily James, from Cinderella to Zombie Slayer

“Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s classic novel about the Bennet sisters and their suitors, has one of the most famous opening lines in all of literature.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an adaptation Jane never could have seen coming despite her gifts, twists the opening line so that we’re no longer talking courtship but hunger; zombies in want of brains. So let’s twist the line again. ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that pop culture, possessed by the love of fanfic, must be in want of works in the Public Domain!’


“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was an instant best-seller in 2009 thanks to its jawdropping title and cheeky-macabre cover. It essentially started rather than tried to catch the wave of popular mash-up novels. It sold to the movies quickly but Natalie Portman, the intended Elizabeth, bailed (she’s credited as Executive Producer now). The novelist Seth Grahame-Smith followed his best-seller up with “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” which made the leap to the big screen swiftly. But the movie was godawful, never deciding if it was a campy action flick or a sober historical drama …with fangs. Worse, it was stupidly unaware that a laugh or three might be useful in selling its ridiculousness. Worst of all it exploited slavery like a prop to up its bloody supernatural horror.

There was every reason to be suspicious of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, then, but those Bennet sisters have often been underestimated. It helps enormously that Jane Austen’s romantic and comic novels are surprisingly sturdy beasts, regularly prompting great adaptations (Sense & Sensibility), witty updates (MetropolitanClueless), ethnic riffs (Bride & PrejudiceFrom Prada to Nada) and serving as a skeleton for other classics, too (Bridget Jones’s Diary). The source material comes ready with comic beats and frivolity if you only harness it.

The prologue introduces the famously stiff Mr Darcy (Sam Riley, Control) at a society gathering he has to strip to attend (albeit with an unfortunately leering gay joke). No zombie bites? ☑️.

Unfortunately for the party, his clothes go back on and he’s a mood-killing zombie hunter. The prologue ends with a grisly kill and though the scene is surprisingly tense, I worried; will this be a humorless slog?

The movie quickly settles into a confident mash-up groove, leaving ample room for Austen-lite repartee to play out over humorously incongruous visuals. An early scene has Elizabeth (Lily James, Cinderella) and Jane Bennet (Bella Heathcote, Dark Shadows) and their sisters lined up in a sitting room. In other adaptations, they’d be sewing or reading, but here they’re sharpening blades and loading muskets as they banter about neighbors, future plans, and eligible bachelors.

Maybe it’s a one-joke movie but the joke is funny. The humor doesn’t wear out its welcome, either, because the screenplay (by Burr Steers, who also directs) has figured out how to return to jokes without them feeling as lifeless as the walking dead. The most overtly comic reworkings are reserved for Parson Collins (Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, hamming it up) who’s a fussy treat and the Lady Catherine (Game of Throne‘s Lena Headey), Darcy’s domineering aunt. In this bizarro British Regency, Lady Catherine is not intimidating because she’s wealthy, but because she’s a legendary zombie slayer.

Though P&P&Z is uneven and could have used more visual wit than it gets — it’s shot like a fairly standard underlit action-horror movie — it mostly works. You quickly realize that you’ve fallen in love with the characters just as you have in every other version of this story. In one scene the well meaning, handsome Bingley (Douglas Booth, Jupiter Ascending) falls into a room filled with zombies and you instantly worry he’ll be bitten; the last body part you’d want his beautiful lips nibbling on is brains! In another sequence Elizabeth and Darcy’s ill tempered banter erupts into actual fighting. When will these stubborn souls realize they’re made for each other and kiss?

Unfortunately, like the undead, P&P&Z doesn’t know when its time is up. Happily ever after is, as yet, out of reach with the movie begging for a sequel in its closing credits.

Grade: B-
Oscar Chances:  Now you're just being as foolish as Parson Collins.

more reviews | return to blog

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (7)

I'd say "Outside Shot at Costume Design", but nothing else.
Hail, Caesar? Probably not. You need to be perceived as great to endure to late year.
Next Week? I'd guess Deadpool has a high likelihood of at least a Globe Comedy Actor nod.

February 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Agreed with just about everything you said. Liked this a lot more than I was expecting to after it became a last minute throw-away add-on to a double feature. I was really impressed with Lily James and I look forward to whatever she's up to next.

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterteppo2

How's Sally Phillips as Mrs Bennet?

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Adam -- barely in it.

February 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Routing Transactions have become the very useful and helpful things in the online transactions. If you have not schedule this for the upcomg months then let me tell you that you can easily done this with the help of January 2018 Calendar Word


October 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
October 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLis

Really great content and I think it can b improved a lot with just more pro guidance.
Chase bank routing numbers

May 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSams

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>