Ever seen a movie that just doesn’t know what it wants to be? One that may have shown some promise towards the beginning but became so muddled it ended up being a ‘hot mess?’
It was called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
It actually started with promise. A nice mixture of action and comedy opens the film and the title sequence is nothing short of impressive. But it was all downhill from there.
Based on a book of the same name from 2009, it takes the entire ridiculous premise even further. While the book was relatively straight-forward in its addition of horror and action elements to the original Jane Austen novel, the film goes completely off the rails by the second half.
I’ll be honest. The entire plot is dense, convoluted, and incredibly silly even when compared to the book. In order to do it justice I would have to devote a page and a half to everything. Suffice it to say that some people (Charles Dance, Lena Headey, Matt Smith) seemed to be in on the joke while others (Douglas Booth, Jack Huston) acted as if this was a pure period drama. Then there’s Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) who constantly shifted between the two extremes.
As previously noted, the movie shows promise early on with actual laugh-out-loud moments and subtle jabs at the silliness of a Victorian England being overrun with hordes of the undead. Sadly, once the movie hits the halfway mark, things get so out of hand that nothing short of editing out three-quarters of the film could save it.
On top of all the elements from the novel(s?) there is a plot involving a Zombie Lord, a last ditch battle, betrayal, and a distinct lack of silliness. The last part was the hardest to handle. When your movie starts off with corpse flies and a joke involving a decapitated head, you cannot shift into pure drama. It throws the viewer off.
Personally, I never recovered.
I had absolutely no expectations for this film, but the goofiness and winking at the audience that occurred during the first thirty minutes shifted my expectations. I began to enjoy myself. I began to thoroughly like where the film was going. Suddenly going from a pseudo period-piece/horror/comedy to a super-serious action/drama hybrid was a tonal shift I could not handle.
Shame on you, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You knew what you were, but then you tried to become something you were not.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Lena Headey
Directed by: Burr Steers
Written by: Burr Steers
Running time: 108 minutes
Taras D. Butrej is the go-to guy for all the movies nobody else wants to see. Some people believe his levels of masochism cannot be measured. When he's not busy being disappointed in the theater he can be found talking video games on The SML Podcast or talking television on YouTube. He also has a job, but that's not important right now.