2.5 out of 10
Release Date: 11th February 2016
Director: Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud / 17 Again / Igby Goes Down)
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Emma Greenwell, Morfydd Clark, Dolly Wells and Charles Dance with Matt Smith and Lena Headey
Trailer: PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES
Now this was disappointing. This one-joke zombie fails to capitalise on a pretty good conceit and as a result it’s probably the flattest bigger-budget zombie flick to shuffle out on British cinemas to date. Wearing it’s gimmick on it’s sleeve, it’s essentially a retelling of the Jane Austen novel with some flesh-eating zombies thrown in to liven it up. Only the added USP actually deadens it up. When one of the zombies begins to hold a conversation with the living you know that the scare factor just got dialled down to zero. Talking, intelligent zombies are a real turn off. So its clear from the off this is an attempt at zom-com, except there are no jokes either. It’s left to the period design and the acting to impress, except they don’t.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies looks like an exercise in obligation. You’ve all had experiences where you’re all in the pub have funny idea, are all committed to it in the spirit of camarderie but come the sober light of day you can’t be bothered and no longer see the funny side. PPZ is like that, except the one wag who still found the idea funny stitched everyone up with cast iron contracts, thats assuming the actors in this were friends to begin with, except there’s no chemistry. The high-profile cast are just going through the motions with the exception of former Dr Who, Matt Smith (TERMINATOR 5) who is excellent as the local Clergy man, the Rev’d Collins.
The main plot of the Jane Austen original isn’t disrupted too badly throughout the earlier sections but this still comes off a poor second to even Joe Wright’s 2005 re-run. You’re thinking, ‘I already know these bits, bring on the zombies’. It’s a bad thing in a way and by the time the first hour is through you know you’re definitely not going to see any improvements. I was willing it to be better because I was looking forward to it.
Sam Riley (CONTROL) and Lily James (WAR AND PEACE) are OK as the leads but beyond a cool bit of swordplay and martial arts tom-foolery they are indistinguishable from the legion of Col. Darcys and Elizabeth Bennetts that have gone before. A subplot about feeding zombies pig’s brains is too convoluted and story-killing for my liking and the race against time at the ending lacks urgency or suspense. All that’s left to commend is the ‘look’ of the film which is the sole success. The zombies and the settings all look spot-on. The costumes are perfect and it’s a good job there was money for this kind of thing as it’s the only aspect in the entire film that feels like it was accomplished with a degree of love and care. Otherwise this is a machine-like bore that could have done with a bit more spring in its step, more jokes, less talk and a degree of suspense.
2.5 out of 10 – Flat and lifeless. An expensive looking film with no life whatsoever to it. As a comedy there’s one joke, the concept. As a horror there’s no atmosphere. An empty experience.
Another review by Matt ‘Shuffler’ Usher below
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Lily James: Baby Driver, War and Peace (TV), Burnt, Downton Abbey (TV), Cinderella (2015), Broken (2013), Fast Girls, Wrath Of The Titans
- Sam Riley: Free Fire, Suite Francaise, Maleficent, Byzantium, On The Road, Brighton Rock (2011), 13 (2010), Franklyn, Control
- Jack Huston: Berlin I Love You, Ben Hur (2016), Hail Caesar, The Longest Ride, American Hustle, Night Train To Lisbon, Kiss Your Darlings, The Hot Potato, Boardwalk Empire (TV), Twilight- Eclipse, Mr Nice, Outlander, Shrooms, Factory Girl
- Douglas Booth: A Storm In The Stars, The Riot Club, Jupiter Ascending, Noah, Romeo & Juliet (2013), LOL
- Sally Phillips: Burn Burn Burn, Set The Thames On Fire, The Rizen 2, The Rizen, Bridget Jones 3, Miranda (TV), Green Wing (TV), Bridget Jones 2, Bridget Jones, Mean Machine, Birthday Girl, Born Romantic
- Bella Heathcote: Fifty Shades Darker, Neon Demon, Dark Shadows, Beneath Hill 60, Neighbours (TV)
- Ellie Bamber: Nocturnal Animals
- Suki Waterhouse: Insurgent, Love Rosie
- Emma Greenwell: Love & Friendship, Shameless US (TV)
- Morfydd Clark: Love & Friendship, The Call Up, The Falling
- Dolly Wells: Black Mountain Poets, 45 Years, Benny & Jolene, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (TV), Dolly & Em (TV), Some Girls (TV), Spy (TV), Morvern Callar
- Charles Dance: Underworld 5, Ghostbusters 3, Me Before You, Despite The Falling Snow, Woman In Gold, Child 44, The Imitation Game, Dracula Untold, Game Of Thrones (TV), Midnight’s Children, St. George’s Day, Underworld 4, Your Highness, Ironclad, Starter For Ten, Gosford Park, Ladies In Lavender (dir), Swimming Pool, Ali G In Da House, Black and White (2002), Hilary & Jackie, Michael Collins, Space Truckers, Exquisite Tenderness, China Moon, Century, The Last Action Hero, Alien 3, Hidden City, The Golden Child, White Mischief, James Bond – For Your Eyes Only
- Matt Smith: Terminator 5, Lost River, Doctor Who – Day of the Doctor, Dr Who (TV), Clone
- Lena Headey: Game Of Thrones (TV), The Adventurer – Curse of the Midas Box, Black Plague (2015), 300 – part 2, The Mortal Instruments, The Purge, Dredd, The Broken, The Brothers Grimm, Imagine Me & You, St. Trinians, 300, The Cave, Ripley’s Game, The Parole Officer, Gossip, Onegin, If Only, Mrs Dalloway, Face, Waterland, The Grotesque, The Jungle Book (1994), Century, The Remains Of The Day