What a concept for a film right!? Taking probably the most famous period drama there is and throwing a whole load of zombies amongst it, what is not to love about that? Although I’m not the biggest fan of the zombie genre, last year I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed both ‘Maggie’ & especially ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ so I was hopeful for this mash up. In all honesty though I was just excited to see Matt Smith running away from monsters again.
Let’s start with the zombies, some of said un dead here were the ugliest zombies I’d seen and that was great! There was good detail amongst many of the zombies that we first see and the design of each seemed to vary quite drastically which I appreciated, the make-up game was strong at the start. It’s a shame that this detail is somewhat lost as the film goes on and the zombies begin to become more generic and don’t get as much screen time as they did at the start. Nonetheless at the start of the film they do contribute to some of the scares and if you like jumping you should enjoy this section to the film. Despite the inconsistency in zombie quality the film always manages to be enjoyable and entertaining. There is a good mix of humour and drama. The humour always creates a sense of fun whilst the drama somehow actually achieves a certain degree of scale and weight to this otherwise quite trashy mash up of genres. However, whilst both of these elements work I couldn’t help but feel the film would have been better if one of these had of been focused on. It could have worked much better as just an all out over the top comedy but similarly it could have worked as a more serious epic style story. Instead the film opts to include both approaches and kind of weakens both in doing so. The result is still good but if one had of been opted for over the other the movie would have been great instead of just good.
The cast are very watchable and take to their roles well. Lily James (‘Cinderella’ & ‘Downtown Abbey’) continues her career with another period role but she does it well and she’s a good leading lady. Other names in the cast include; Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips and of course Matt Smith. I’ve really enjoyed Matt Smith’s choices of roles since leaving ‘Doctor Who’. I liked both his characters in ‘Lost River’ and ‘Terminator Genisys’ but my only complaint in those films was that he doesn’t get enough screen time. Here he does get more than before and even though I’m biased I thought his character was the best thing about the film. Smith’s performance is responsible for much of the comedy in the film and I laughed most when he was present. I would have liked to have seen him in more zombie action than I did but I still very much enjoyed his presence. There were a couple of actors who were underused though, Charles Dance appears in a throwaway role but it’s Lena Headey who gets the worst deal. Her character is built up to be so entertaining but ends up being the least fleshed out of them all! The action included in the film is solid, there is plenty of it towards the beginning of the film and it showcases how badass many of the characters are, however I’d have liked to have seen some longer sequences and from a variety of perspectives. There was potential for more here, even a couple of chase sequences would have improved the film. Like the rest of the movie I was still able to have a good time with this though. One other element of the film I also enjoyed was the air of mystery that is teased throughout the film, however much like everything else this had the potential to be just that little bit more effective.
I’ve seen many critics completely bashing this bonkers horror period drama but I don’t think it deserves this. The film should have decided more clearly what it wanted to be instead of trying to be all things and there is room for improvement in most aspects. However, what we get is always good. ‘Pride + Prejudice + Zombies’ is fun, enjoyable and always entertaining. Fans of Matt Smith should enjoy his involvement here too. Whilst I know that the film isn’t anywhere near the best of either of the genres it falls in to, what can I say I just have a certain fondness for it and found myself more than happy to watch the story unfold.
Rating – 7.5/10
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