Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) is a surprise mash-up horror/romance/drama with comic undertones.
It was based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, (who also wrote the fun Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). He managed to mashes up two very unlikely sources, coming up with something remarkably coherent.
While A.L.V.H. was fun (that train explosion was especially cool), I think Pride And Prejudice And Zombies achieved a much grander, epic and thoroughly detailed production. I loved how the subtle nuances of courtship in the Victorian era were not cast aside for convenient contrivance.
The acting was quite good and the great cast included Charles Dance, Lena Headley and Matt Smith (many know him as one of The Doctors). Smith played the comic, dundering, foil in this; a rich character that called for timing and subtlety. He sounded and looked much like a young Michael Palin.
Yet, without strong leads this whole thing would have fallen apart. Sam Riley was excellent as Mr. Darcy. I love it when young actors have the bearing and vocal maturity to pull off gravitas. From the moment he entered the film, he was mesmerizing. His female counterpart was Elizabeth Barret played by Lily James (who has essayed characters in British series like Downton Abbey). She was one bad-ass zombie killer and yet was balanced with vibrant character detail and complex emotions. The rest of the cast were all uniformly strong.
Make no mistake, however, this is really Darcy & Elizabeth’s story.
As a romantic drama it was involving and very well written. But how was it as a horror film? I think gore hounds, slasher lovers and torture porn enthusiasts might have found it light on the splatter (it was PG-13) and may not have taken to the witty dialogue as I did. Yet they might admit there were some mighty creepy and memorable images in this film. as the direction and cinematography were blessedly graceful.
Was the movie scary? Not really. Were there some holes? A few. It was never explained, for example, why some of the dead were quite coherent, could talk and reason, while others were typical zombies.
All in all, I found Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016) to be above average and fun to watch. Of course, then the credits have to pull a Dawn Of The Dead remake styled teaser. (the studio possibly hoping for a sequel?)