Heaps of fawning compliments have been bestowed upon Jane Austen’s classic novel of manners, Pride and Prejudice. Yet, despite over two centuries worth of praise, no one’s ever called the book (or any of its numerous film and TV adaptations) “action-packed” or “fun”. Charlotte Bronte herself remarked that Austen’s work contained “no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck.” We’re pretty sure that’s a 19th century dis that translates to “Meh, it’s a tad dry.”
But no more. It turns out that all the author’s masterpiece required, in terms of spice, was an unannounced visit from a coterie lacking both manners and living flesh: zombies! The latest incarnation of the story mixes in the key ingredient and the result is this: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the most perfect date movie of all time. In fact, we dare period piece aficionados, action junkies, rom-com fans, and horror devotees alike not to love this movie. Here’s why:
The film takes the classic lines that every Austen fan has committed to heart and puts a subversive spin on them. For example, when Darcy first spies Elizabeth Bennet and remarks, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me,” his choosiness suddenly takes on a hilarious undertone—considering that the zombie plague has caused half the faces of half the girls in England to rot clean off their heads.
Star Lily James‘ Elizabeth Bennet is even more kick-ass than in Austen’s original: “I will never relinquish my sword for a ring,” says the Shaolin-trained zombie slayer who carries a loaded gun to tea and keeps a dagger in her garter.
As Mr. Bennet, Charles Dance utters the following to James in reference to Matt Smith‘s character: “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.” Let’s break this down: that’s Game of Thrones‘ Tywin Lannister telling Downton Abbey‘s Lady Rose that he doesn’t want her marrying Doctor Who‘s Eleventh Doctor. See? Something for everyone.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister also has a supporting role in the film. Lena Headey is an eyepatch-wearing Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who, in the update, is England’s most revered zombie killer.
Romantic rejections hurt a lot more in this version of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth’s refusal of Mr. Darcy’s proposal is comprised of the familiar harsh words (“I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”) but adds injury to insult by the fact that she speaks them while kicking his ass in hand-to-hand combat.
Austen fans need not worry about the undead’s insatiable appetite for brains spoiling the love story in the original Pride and Prejudice. The romantics in the audience will get their happy ending (or as happy an ending as can be had in the middle of a zombie apocalypse).
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies splatters across screens on February 5. Check out the trailer below and consider your Valentine’s Day plans made.