Take a Drink: for zombie POV.
Take a Drink: for corsets and capers (every time the ladies kick ass).
Take a Sip: anytime the zombies take a bite/carrion flies play “eeny meeny miney moe”.
Take a Shot: whenever the urge to scream “Bitch, run!” hits or Elizabeth is compared to Jane.
Take a Drink: anytime Darcy decapitates shrubbery.
Chug Your Beer: ZOMBIE. BABY.
By: Felix Felicis (Three Beers)-
Genre mashups, much like man buns and jeggings, are often doomed to fail. When I think about classic literature mashed together with an undead twist, I usually start to smell burning toast, which is one of the first signs of a stroke. Or a roommate that can’t cook. Tomato/Tomahto. Though with this adaptation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies manages to graft together a time-honored classic with teenage zombie-fueled hormones relatively painlessly; kind of like pop culture novocaine. Embrace the concept for what it is and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will deliver exactly what the title says it will.
The plot? Don’t worry about the plot. Just flash back to high school and fight past all the PTSD hormone surges to remember that a poor but scrappy family meets a rich dude in the countryside and one of their daughters falls in love with him while another hate bangs his BFF with words before THEY fall in love and yet another daughter runs off with the BFF’s former BFF to maybe get married out of ennui (which is a really big word for they hadn’t invented television yet so everyone got really bored of milking cows) Or something. Add zombies et voila! You get Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies manages to take the cult literature classic and mash it together with what I assume Degrassi: Zombie High would be like with relative ease. Even with noticeable flaws and a cheese factor in the double digits, the fun and exuberant romp through undead Austenville is still a pretty good time (especially taking into consideration the joyless meh-fest that was The Fifth Wave last month. All of the characters play off one another with ease and it’s obvious they’re having a hell of a good time. Sam Riley’s classic Darcy takes a taciturn hottie in tight pants and rings all my lady bells on the rough road to love.
The addition of zombies allows a fresh injection of plot twists and contrivances that -for the most part- livens up (pun super intended) unimpeachable, if predictable, material. Don’t get me wrong, I have a uterus so it’s pretty much a given that I love all things Austen but the fresh spin on the mashup material really lets you get lost in the fun dichotomy of a refined world juxtaposed over a rising tide of war with an undead scourge. Most notably in the singularly epic marriage proposal where Elizabeth and Darcy talk a lot of trash while kicking each others’ ass. Seriously, I haven’t seen that much repressed sexual tension since my last high school reunion. And Matt Smith absolutely wins the award for nailing the odious essence of Mr. Collins in a way that makes him, for lack of a better description, adorably douchey. This was not a perfect movie, or flawless in any way, but damn if it wasn’t a tongue-in-cheek good time regardless.
While Pride and Prejudice and Zombie’s monster mashup is absolutely entertaining, this Frankensteined flick is far-less-than seamlessly grafted together, often resulting in major gaps of plot coherence, character depth, and lapses in logic even a semi-comatose hamster would notice. The film’s overall effect manages to mitigate these distractions as long as you don’t look too closely at how this bitch is sewn up. And definitely don’t think too hard about the nebulous rules for how these zombies operate and how they make less cohesive sense than booking Coldplay for your Super Bowl 50 Halftime show.
The George Wickham story arc is the biggest failure in this mashup, owing to the fact that the character alterations leave him pompously predictable and the overall narrative a shallower take on the tale. Where Mr. Collins was a delightful departure from classic canon, Wickham leaves you with a sour taste on your tongue… not unlike that time you discovered expiration dates on wine coolers weren’t just “light suggestions”.
Maybe it’s my rapidly approaching thirties, but even with the overwhelmingly low bar by which I judge all teen franchise and adolescent-oriented films, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies managed to make me gag once or twice with a couple of plot alterations just out of sync with the source material. One of the more noticeable tweaks is, while in the original Pride and Prejudice the characters explore a tumultuous love and courtship, they never actually kiss. Though I get it, we’re in teen-oriented genre waters where the rules don’t apply and carbs don’t count after midnight; I still can’t get over how hard they suck face in a Jane Austen flick dotted with zombies.
So, slap on some pants and slay the undead hell bent on world domination curiously led by a conveniently placed antichrist but for the love of Cthulhu keep your goddamn tongue in your mouth. Some of us just aren’t ready for the birds and the bees talk. Or for extremely blatant material changes based on a targeted demographic.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies delivers exactly what it promises in an amusing romp through undead Austenland. There are worse ways to spend your money. All of them include jeggings.
Last Call: Stay for a mid-credits teaser scene that’ll whet your wick for more undead action.