Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

A review by Shlomoh Sherman
November 6, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
Plot Summary: Five sisters in early 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.
Director: Burr Steers
Writers: Burr Steers (screenplay), Jane Austen (Quirk Books novel)
Stars: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston
Plot Summary - Plot Synopsis
Plot Keywords: zombie - based on novel - england - damsel in distress - deception - See All (290) »
Plot: The five highly trained Bennett sisters in Georgian England must try to protect themselves from the growing zombie threat, find suitable husbands for themselves, battle marriage proposals and unlikely suitors, and save the country before it's too late.
Taglines: Bloody lovely.
Genres: Action - Horror - Romance
Motion Picture Rating: (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material
Country: USA - UK
Language: English - Japanese - Chinese
Release Date: February 5, 2016 (USA)
Filming Locations: West Wycombe House, West Wycombe Park, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Box Office:
Budget: $28,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $5,324,240 (USA) (February 5, 2016)
Gross: $10,907,291 (USA) (26 February 2016)
Company Credits:
Production Co: Cross Creek Pictures, Mad River Pictures, QC Entertainment
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 108 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Color: Color


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a 2009 parody novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. It is a mashup combining Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice with elements of modern zombie fiction, crediting Austen as co-author. It was first published in April 2009 by Quirk Books and in October 2009 a Deluxe Edition was released, containing full-color images and additional zombie scenes. The novel was adapted into a 2016 film.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a British-American comedy film based on Seth Grahame-Smith's 2009 novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which parodies the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The film is directed by Burr Steers, who wrote the adapted screenplay.

In early 19th century England, a plague has infected the population, turning many of them into zombies. The signs of infection are slow to show themselves and a young man, Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy, comes up with a way of ferreting out the undead, by releasing flies when he is near them and suspects their condition. "Flies", he observes, "are drawn to decaying flesh."

Darcy becomes attracted to Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters whom their mother wants married off to wealthy suitors. But these young women are not just pretty faces. They have all been trained in martial arts self defense and the use of various weapons in China so they can defend themselves from the zombies.

Similar to the Jane Austen original, the film focuses on the Bennet sisters – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia. They all feel the pressure to find an eligible bachelor and get married, but in this version of the story there’s another major concern – a zombie outbreak.

The Bennets attend a ball where Darcy's friend, Bingley, falls for Elizabeth's sister, Jane. Zombies attack the ball and the Bennet sisters fight them and kill them.

Elizabeth meets a soldier named Wickham. She agrees to meet him at another ball, afterwhich she travels with him to a church filled where zombies are fed pig brains instead of human brains in order to keep their behaviour appearing normal. Wickham tells Elizabeth that humans can form an agreement with these "civilized" zombies in which peacefull coexistence can be possible. He asks Elizabeth for her hand in marriage but she declines. Darcy has also propsed to her but she has also turned him down. Apparently Elizabeth is a popular catch as an overbearing preacher, Parson Collins, has asked for her hand as well on condition that she give up her life as a warrior, fighting zombies.

Some time later, Darcy warns Elizabeth about Wickham's real plans. He and Wickham were childhood friends but he suspects that Wickham may have murdered his father who had left him an inheritance. Darcy learns that Wickham is actually using the "civilized" zombies to create a zombie army with which he plans to overrun and rule England. Darcy switches the pig brains with human brains which turns the zombies savage.

I won't reveal what happens next so as not to be a spolier. I'll just say that in the midst of the ending credits scene, Wickham leads a horde of zombies toward the Darcy and Elizabeth wedding celebration. So will there be a Pride And Prejudice And Zombies 2?

Right now it’s a question mark as to whether or not we will ever see the end to this impressive charge, but critic Eric Eisenberg in his own review of the film writes in his blog at that director writer/director Burr Steers recently revealed that would love to do a sequel.

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 42%, based on 152 reviews. mashup its title suggests."[33] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 45 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[34] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of B- on an A+ to F scale. Rafer Guzmán of Newsday wrote positively about the film, giving the film three out of four stars, calling it "an unexpected and off-kilter treat, thanks to a BBC-quality cast and (un)deadpan humor." Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press gave a negative review, saying "This story might have been better suited to a television adaptation." Britton Peele of The Dallas Morning News gave the film a B-, calling the film "Fun, funny, gory and yet still strangely romantic."

There is an interesting Huffington Post article on what the film tells us about women in early 19th century England.
"In “'PPZ' — marriage is still at the forefront of the story, and its importance is highlighted by the addition of zombies ... mother Bennet ... with the naked ambition as the original character, emphasizes how important it is that her five daughters find husbands. In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the two parents disagree on what should drive their daughters to marry — economy versus passion. In this adaptation, however, the conflicting opinion is over what holds the most importance: the Bennet sisters’ immediate or long-term survival, with zombie training the key to the former and marriage the latter. Jane Bennet rides a horse to visit Mr. Bingley, thereby making a decision to traverse the zombie-infested land between their estates. If this sounds dangerous, we should remember that women in the Regency Era were no strangers to risk. Valued for their ability to produce offspring, women who married took on the real risk of dying in childbirth. With their zombie-slaying skills, the Bennet sisters aren’t weak physically.Financially, however, they still come from a middle-class family that can’t afford to take care of them for the rest of their lives. Even with the modern addition of zombies, this movie hasn’t time-traveled to the age of liberal feminism and women making their own way. If you think top-notch combat training would elevate women to be equal to men in the 'PPZ' world, you’d be wrong. Women, as skilled as they may be, are not being recruited as soldiers at the front lines of the zombie war. Their skills are admired by men but not necessarily taken as seriously as when men possess them. It also seems that physical attractiveness still outranks any other trait as the most desirable in a wife. Mr. Darcy notes while Liz is slaying zombies left and right, 'her arms are surprisingly muscular, but not unfeminine.' In the real world, many women still face those circumstances. As The Atlantic has pointed out, statistics show that, financially, married women tend to fare much better than unmarried women, and that while while wealthy women can afford to reject marriage, poor women can’t. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” shows us that the narrative of women’s lives, however domestic or seemingly romantic, have always been stories of survival and strength. With or without flesh-eating zombies, the real threat women have frequently faced is a life of poverty, and marriage as a means of survival is still a crucial aspect of many women’s lives today.
What ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ Tells Us About Women And Marriage -

Here's my take on PPZ. At first, when we hear the title, we feel that this has to be a ridiculous movie because wedding Jane Austen's story to a tale of zombie apocalypsis seems stupid. But as I watched the movie, I was caught up in the story as just another zombie story. If we put Jane Austen, that is, the IDEA of Pride and Prejudice, out of our minds while we watch, then the film comes across as a pretty decent horror movie set in 19th century England [where many horror movies take place]. The acting, the atractiveness of the young people, the cinematography, the music, and the CGI blend together to create an enjoyable movie experience for those of us who are horror enthusiasts. I actually liked the movie enough to recommend it to you if you haven't seen it yet. There is much to the plot, and sub-plots, which I havent revealed. These give the story interesting twists. The fight scenes involving various weapons, especially when handled by women, are very well choreographed and exciting. The formal, stylized approach to courting and romance typical of the Georgian Era is a sweet contrast to the overly passionate approach we see in movies about modern 21st century life such as SEX AND THE CITY. And the zombies are all too human-like for comfort, very unlike those portrayed in THE WALKING DEAD or Z NATION. Take your brains to a nearby theater and defintely see the movie. Just don't let the z's get to them.

Did You Know?

Natalie Portman was originally cast as Elizabeth Bennet but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Rooney Mara, Mila Kunis and Blake Lively were considered to replace her before Lily James was finally cast. Portman remains on board as a producer.
During the filming process, Lily James stated that she had a scene where she had to walk through an area with zombie heads all around. Of course, most of them were fake props and she was directed to stomp on one. They would have supposedly gotten squished, however she stomped and realized everyone behind cameras were all staring at her in shock. She looked down and realized she stepped on one of the few extras' head.
Several of the young cast members were inexperienced with making a comedy and would often turn to co-star Sally Phillips, who's a veteran in the field, for advice on how to improve their comic timing and delivery.
All the actresses playing the Bennet sisters did their own stunts for the film.
This marks Sally Phillips's second film adaptation of a book which originally was a revisited edition of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". She previously starred in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) which source material also was a reinterpretation of Austen's classic novel.
Both Lily James and Sam Riley have both starred in live action remakes of Disney movies. James in Cinderella (2015), and Riley in Maleficent (2014).
Suki Waterhouse badly bruised her shoulder while filming the first fight scene between the Bennet sisters and the zombies.
Natalie Portman was originally cast in the film as Elizabeth Bennet before dropping out. Ironically, Keira Knightly, who is often considered her lookalike, played the role of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005), whose original source material by Jane Austen was parodied by the 2009 novel which this film is adapted from.

There is no blood on any of the weapons or their clothing after they slay the zombies.

Elizabeth Bennet: Mrs. Featherstone. You're undead.
Mrs. Featherstone: Shh, I've come to tell you a... [head gets blown off]
Elizabeth Bennet: To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things. Kind... well-read... and accomplished. But to survive in the world as WE know it, you'll need... other qualities.
Mr. Bennet: [to Mr. Collins] My daughters are trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.
Mr. Darcy: I hope this helps explain and perhaps mitigate my behavior in your eyes. Of all weapons in the world, I now know love to be the most dangerous. For I have suffered a mortal wound. When did I fall so deeply under your spell, Miss Bennet?
Mr. Darcy: I write to you from the siege of London. There is now a cunningly designed zombie attack. I sense a dark hand is at work. They are guiding the enemy, Miss Bennet. By taking London they've increased their ranks a hundredfold.
Elizabeth Bennet: [to an unconscious Darcy, after the bridge explosion] The very first moment I beheld you, my heart was irrevocably gone.
Parson Collins: I was unaware that zombies possessed such acuity so as to set such traps. Before we know it, they'll be running for Parliament.
Jane Bennet: [seeing the zombie mother and child] This cannot be!
Elizabeth Bennet: I shall never relinquish my sword for a ring.
Charlotte: For the right man, you would.
Elizabeth Bennet: The right man wouldn't ask me to.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh: [starts laughing] Zombie aristocrats?
George Wickham: I prefer to think of them as souls lost in purgatory.
George Wickham: The common hordes look to them for leadership. It takes just one of them to realize that power and then to lead the hordes into battle.
Parson Collins: According to the Book of Revelation the antichrist shall lead the undead; on the day that shall be the last day of mankind.
Mr. Bennet: [in narration] It wasn't always like this, my dear daughters. As the century began, Britannia was rich with the fruits of worldwide trade. From the colonies there came not just silks and spices, but a virulent and abominable plague. Naturally many suspected the French were to blame.
Mr. Darcy: A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages. She must be well-trained in the fighting styles of the Kyoto masters, and weapons and tactics of modern Europe.
George Wickham: [about zombies] You see, if they never consume human brains they will never fully transform into zombies. St. Lazarus' is the key to find the ending the struggle between the living and the undead. We must force some kind of understanding with the most advanced among them.
Caroline Bingley: [In Japanese] One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
Elizabeth Bennet: I don't speak Japanese.
Caroline Bingley: No, of course. You didn't train in Japan. China, was it?
Elizabeth Bennet: A Shaolin temple in Henan province. It was there that I learned to endure all manner of discomfort.
Caroline Bingley: May I inquire as to the nature of this discomfort?
Elizabeth Bennet: I'd much rather give you a demonstration.
Caroline Bingley: She is one of those young ladies who seeks to recommend herself by undervaluing her own sex.
Elizabeth Bennet: Mr. Darcy, you're as unfeeling as the undead.

Crazy Credits
At the very end of the end titles, children sing snippets of English nursery rhymes in zombie versions.

Rondo in A Major, D. 438 Written by Franz Schubert
An Illustrated History Of England 1700-1800
Dressing For The Dance
The Man From Uribe
Dance Of The Ponderous Distaff
We Are Under Attack!
Carriage Ride
The Soldiers Of Meryton
Menuet Des Mortes Vivants
Orphan Attack
Don't Go Into The Woods Alone
St Lazarus
Rosings Park
Midnight Walk
Flirt Lovers Fight
The Letter / Siege Of London
The In-Between
Darcy Is Saved
Back To St Lazarus
Zombies Are Fed / Attack / Showdown
After The Explosion
Happy Ending?

Message Boards:
Recent Posts
How do movies like this get a Greenlight? - Amanni3968
Can't believe how good this was - retonho
PG-13? - jmcafee-64857
Enough with the zombie craze - Connor_Kenway
Those who saw it: How were the action sequences? - NEOLIONHRT

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lily James ... Elizabeth Bennet
Sam Riley ... Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy
Bella Heathcote ... Jane Bennet
Ellie Bamber ... Lydia Bennet
Millie Brady ... Mary Bennet
Suki Waterhouse ... Kitty Bennet
Douglas Booth ... Mr. Bingley
Sally Phillips ... Mrs. Bennet
Charles Dance ... Mr. Bennet
Jack Huston ... Lt. George Wickham
Lena Headey ... Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Matt Smith ... Parson Collins
Emma Greenwell ... Caroline Bingley
Eva Bell ... Louisa
Aisling Loftus ... Charlotte
Dolly Wells ... Mrs. Featherstone
Tom Lorcan ... Lieutenant Denny
Hermione Corfield ... Cassandra
Jess Radomska ... Annabelle Netherfield

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