Zombies – With Victorian Values

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Zombies – With Victorian Values

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies retells Jane Austen’s classic romance with an unexpected twist: the undead.

Far from the proper young ladies of the original novel, the film’s five Bennet sisters are deadly swordswomen trained in Chinese martial arts. Despite the impending zombie take-over, civilized society still has time for balls, match-making, and general romance. When the very-much-available Mr. Charles Bingley (Great Expectations’ Douglas Booth) moves into the Netherfield estate nearby, the neighborhood residents are thrown into frenzy, each mother trying to marry off her daughters to Mr. Bingley, including Mrs. Bennet (Sally Phillips).

While at a ball, the family meets Bingley’s companion, Fitzwilliam Darcy, played by Maleficent’s Sam Riley. Insulted by Darcy at their first meeting, Elizabeth Bennet (Cinderella’s Lily James) runs out of the ball and subsequently runs into a zombie, preceding an attack on the party. It is during this attack that Elizabeth and her sisters are able to successfully neutralize the swarms of the undead, proving their skill as warriors.

Elizabeth draws the admiration of Mr. Darcy, especially. In the following months, Bingley and Jane Bennet (Bella Heathcote), the eldest Bennet sister, develop a romance that becomes opposed by Bingley’s sisters and Darcy, who think that Jane is after his money. All the while, the plague of the undead continues to grow, spreading out from London and heading towards the rest of England. Darcy, however, is growing more and more fond of Elizabeth, who continues to despise him and becomes more and more attracted to his rival, George Wickham (Jack Huston).

As the plague continues and love abounds, devious plot twists unfold and create chaos in what remains of civilized society. With the addition of a tedious cousin (Doctor Who’s Matt Smith) set to inherit the estate and his sponsor attempting to keep Darcy and Elizabeth separate, the Bennet sisters show what it means to persevere.

Though working with zombies can be tough (too many and it’s an apocalypse, too few and the panic is silly), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies manages to work the undead into the film quite skillfully without making the odd combination of Victorian romance and a zombie apocalypse too ridiculous.

In a retelling of a classic, there is one rule: you must be true to the original without being tedious. And Pride and Prejudice and Zombies follows that rule. It provides a refreshing and interesting take on an old classic.

But at its heart, it remains Pride and Prejudice – with zombies.