Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

23 February 2016 | 2:35 pm | Sean Capel

"It's imperfect entertainment, not the best of either genre, but better than expected."

When Jane Austen meets horror, you get Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, the brainchild of Seth Grahame-Smith, writer of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. With the latter utterly failing on screen, does Pride And Prejudice And Zombies fare better?

Set during the 19th century — with England ravaged by a zombie outbreak — Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) must navigate complicated social etiquette when the arrogant and handsome Mr Darcy (Sam Riley) comes courting, while joining him to fight the undead.

While it doesn't entirely work, there is an alluring contrast and added tension created by focusing on Austen's polite society during a zombie apocalypse. There are good moments like Elizabeth and Darcy's fight; lines like, "You are as unfeeling as the undead," are delicious. However, the film fumbles balancing Austen's world and zombies elegantly. The zombies are infrequent, sometimes an afterthought. When they do appear though it's creepy, eloquent horror, with excellent make-up.

The cast is stellar, with James giving Elizabeth Austen's heroine strength and badass physical skill. Riley is also good, providing Darcy's disinterested, inner turmoil with zombie inspector attributes. In support, Jack Huston is solid as Mr Wickham and Matt Smith's show-stealing Mr Collins creates the most laughs. It's a shame talent like Charles Dance and Lena Headey are underutilised.

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Overall, it's imperfect entertainment, not the best of either genre, but better than expected.