When I was in High School, I was forced to read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and I remember the book most of all for being one of the most tediously boring and unrewarding books I have ever read in my entire life. Sure, I know this is the minority opinion amongst stuck up folk such as myself, but being a high school male, it was pure torture to read and absorb every word into my hormone-soaked brain.
Here we are now, more years removed from that initial exposure to Pride and Prejudice than I care to admit, with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a mash-up that sounds kooky and fun and might actually give a booster shot to this tired tale I made my nemesis all those years ago.
I’m not sure what happened here and, admittedly, I have not read the book that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was based on, but when you have a title like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you expect… nay, you are promised something nutty and hilarious. What we get instead is all of the stuck-up tedium of Pride and Prejudice and none of the fun of a zombie movie. Call me crazy, but I think it was supposed to be the other way around.
This movie basically supposes what it would be like if Pride and Prejudice took place during a zombie apocalypse which sounds like it was be hilarious on paper, but in execution it’s anything but. It’s not even action packed. It’s a cheap adaption that gets almost everything wrong. It’s like the people who made this movie didn’t get the gag behind the idea of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and went in making it as straight-laced as possible.
Even this approach might have worked if it had been shown in contrast to the zombie madness, but even that easy route for comedy or satire or even just arbitrary weirdness isn’t even touched upon. Rarely have I seen such a novel idea completely and pointlessly wasted.
What we have now is a bloated and pompous period piece with a few zombie scenes thrown in. Sure, some of the scenes are funny if you’ve read Pride and Prejudice but, and I say this with as little judgement as possible, I can’t imagine that many people have read it in the first place to appreciate it so, honestly, who the hell was this movie made for?
I would have even accepted Pride and Prejudice and Zombies if it had been presented as a straight horror and/or action movie, but the film is shot so cheaply and without any ambition, that every zombie scene falls flat and anything that looks like it might be original is dumped in favor of the familiar cliche.
Zombies trying to be civilized by using pig brains and religion? That’s original! I like that! Too bad they dump the whole plot for some lame twist. Those horsemen they kept talking about? Sounds fun. What happened to them? Did we just forget they existed? Zombies setting traps? Brilliant! Oh wait… that was only one scene.
Even the violence is sanitized for the sake of a PG-13 rating.
This movie is a mess. It took itself too seriously, didn’t get its own joke, and messes up on every possible level. Sitting through it was a chore and, worse off, an unexpected chore because when you see a movie with a title like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies you at least expect a small level of fun. This is like showing up to what you think is a barbecue only to find out you’ve been tricked into reroofing a house.