ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 3, 2016
By Steve Newton
The only thing worse than a novel combining Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with zombie fiction, apparently, is a film version of the heinous mashup. I haven’t suffered such anguish at the movies since reviewing Uwe Boll’s appalling Alone in the Dark back in 2005.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is set in early-19th-century England, where the “Black Plague” has resulted in hordes of undead threatening to overrun the country. The plot centres on the exploits of status-conscious zombie-hunter Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), whom we first encounter as he tries to sniff out zombies among elegant high-society types at a stately manor. He releases flies from a jar to light on and expose them, then goes into valiant, sword-swinging decapitation mode before stomping the infected brain with his boot and kicking the lopped-off head across the parlour floor.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Darcy meets the well-to-do Bennet family—which includes five unmarried sisters highly skilled at martial-arts-based zombie decimation. But his prideful interaction with the beautiful Elizabeth (Lily James) leads to much prejudice, and that’s when the excruciating mashup of high-minded class commentary and lowbrow zombie lore kicks in, to awful effect.
The rest of the movie is a barrage of gory action scenes, recorded at deafening volume and strung together by interminable squabbling between the Bennets and their various suitors, including the particularly nauseating clergyman Mr. Collins (Matt Smith of Dr. Who).
By the time this noisy monstrosity shudders to a close you’ll wonder how it ever got greenlit as a feature when it barely deserves to exist as a five-minute sketch on a questionable episode of Saturday Night Live.