Creating a film mash-up (also loving referred to by movies fans as a Genre Buster) is a tricky business. When you mix themes (Sci-Fi, Comedy, Horror, et cetera) the results can vary. Sometimes you hit pay dirt with an oversized marshmallow man in Ghostbusters and other times you’re left with Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello singing show tunes in Hudson Hawk. The next themes to be mashed together on the big screen is Jane Austen and the undead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies based on the 2009 graphic novel.
Mixing the style and feel of a Jane Austen novel with a zombie outbreak is not an easy task and it shows on-screen. The negative result from smashing these two worlds together is not for a lack of trying. Everything about it looks and feels like a film based on Austen’s work. Lily James is meant to play a character from an Austen tale and she’s not too bad swinging the sword as Elizabeth in an alternate universe in early nineteenth century where zombies have infested England. The problem is when the zombie madness starts happening, it causes both sides of the movie to become a distraction depending on what theme you prefer to watch.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes across too silly at times where the audience can’t take the overall product seriously which is important with a Genre Buster. Movie patrons need to buy into weirdness like the man with Scissors for hands in the classic Edward Scissorhands. That doesn’t happen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The zombies never feel as if they are a real threat and this side of the story could have benefited from an R rating. If you’re going to do a zombie theme, you need blood and guts. Even if the attempt was admirable, the two vastly different genres in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fail to form a cohesive final product that’s enjoyable for a person looking for something fresh.
Overall, I give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2 out of 4 stars.