Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, directed by Burr Steers, is a movie based off and and adapted from classic the novel by Jane Austen. The film features acting performances by Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Heady, Matt Smith, and Emma Greenwell.
19th century England has been has been dealing with a zombie outbreak for years and, while somewhat contained, the inevitable apocalypse is on its way. To prepare, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (Phillips and Dance) have seen to it that their five daughters are fully versed in combat skills with intensive studies and training from a very early age. Now that they have grown into young women, the time has also come for men to compete for their affections and, while the outbreak rages on as a backdrop, hearts are won and lost on the battlefields of courtship.
Going in, I was expecting this to be just a fun, action movie with lots of zombie slashing and sword clashing and I am happy to say that it is exactly that and more. The story is a really good mix of zombie action, romance, and period drama all told in a fast paced and fun style that keeps things moving along nicely. I never once felt like the movie was dragging or getting dull and the run time of just under two hours was perfect for this film. Director Burr Steers has taken a big leap into the big budget franchise arena as, looking at his IMDB page, the movie he is most known for prior to this one is Zac Efron's 17 Again. With that in mind, I am even more impressed that he was able to put together a very polished presentation that blends together so many different genres and utilizes a cast that really has no big time Hollywood star power other than rising star Lily James who is most known for capturing some Disney magic in last year's live action remake of Cinderella.
Other standout performances in this film come from Sam Riley who plays opposite Lily James as both rival and love interest and Matt Smith of Dr. Who fame in a scene stealing supporting role as Parson Collins. If we get to see a sequel or two, a am really hoping we get to see more of Lena Heady and Charles Dance who always play such larger than life characters and are both veterans of the Game of Thrones TV series. It would also be interesting to see how the sisters are developed on screen both as a team of fighters and as individual women. Aside from Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, the other four sisters are played by Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, and Suki Waterhouse.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a really fun movie that does a great job of throwing together multiple genres and coming out with a very entertaining film. Oddly enough, there is less emphasis on blood and gore and more time spent on character interaction and world building which really sets things up nicely for future installments. If this tells you anything, the person I saw it with is not a fan of zombie movies, but she had a great time watching this movie.