Brains on the big screen

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”

Story by: Libby Sullivan, Business Manager

This parody of Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice” brought a new light to a beautiful classic. Director Burr Steers created a captivating experience for the audience while still holding relatively true to the original novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” takes place in the 19th century and a mysterious and deadly plague has fallen upon England – a plague we all know as the zombie apocalypse. Joined by her four sisters, Elizabeth Bennet has trained for years in order to survive the rebirth of the apocalypse. Originally, she had one goal – survive and grow stronger, but her plans came to a halt when she met the haughty, hard headed, zombie-slaying Mr. Darcy. Their tale of a difficult romance and survival on the battlefield will fascinate viewers everywhere.

Everyone has encountered a movie that either moved so slow the viewers fell asleep in their seats, or so fast it gave them a headache trying to keep up with everything happening, but with this film, Steers found the perfect balance. Steers filled all 108 minutes of his film with relevant and entertaining scenes, giving “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” just the right amount of dull moments to equal out the fast-paced, action-packed moments.

At first, I felt like Steers took quite a risk with his cast since many of them either have not played in action-packed films like this one or simply have not done so well in their past films. One actress in particular made me pause – Lily James. Her most recent role before “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” starred her as Cinderella in the 2015 remake of “Cinderella.” The elegance and regality she presented in “Cinderella” seemed like something that would only slow her down on the set of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” but it ended up benefitting her. For the role of Elizabeth Bennet, James needed to retain that sophistication and beauty while slicing off zombie heads. The marvelous acting not only showed what a great range the actors have in their roles, but also how large of a range Steers’ can direct, since he can circle from “Pulp Fiction” to “17 Again” to “Charlie St. Cloud” and all the way back to “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

Since he chose to adapt such a fun and kooky novel, Steers faced many challenges when it came to choosing the right cast and cutting out specific scenes that he found irrelevant. Everything about the book turned into his interpretation, and for those fans of the book, lining up in hopes of seeing the exact description of the characters they love brought up on screen, prepare to face disappointment. Steers made character sacrifices in order to save his film, for instance his drastic change of the character Mr. Collins, played in the film by Matt Smith. This new type of Mr. Collins created by Steers may have greatly differed from the book description of the character, but he also introduced some much-needed comical relief in all the blood splatter and tensions.  
Overall, the range of cast members and complex camera angles brought the whole film together, and I look forward to seeing Steers continue the series.