Dear Mr. Burr Steers,
I extend to you my deepest admiration for your efforts in the motion picture offering Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and hope this letter finds you in the pink of health. I had feared the film would cause offense and upset to those who think fondly upon that greatest of literary works wrought so cleverly by Miss Jane Austen, but you will be relieved to hear my fellow filmgoers appeared to find it most diverting.
I must admit to having no real fondness for the work of Miss Austen. While her artful turn at social satire cannot be faulted, I have never managed to rally any real interest in tales centered upon the subject of marriage - be they tales of ladies consumed with the desire to marry, or of ladies chafing obstinately at the prospect of it. By peppering the work with an army of the undead, the film lends a certain bite to the trials and tribulations of the five Bennett sisters with their beauty, bearing, and BRRRAAAAAINS (forgive me).
At first blush, it appears that the bones of dear Miss Austen’s novel have been well-preserved, with entire scenes and conversations between characters bearing a familiar ring. Thrusting the characters into battle with zombie hordes is a rather entertaining means of adding flesh to bone, and a refined, if rather plodding tale suddenly bares its teeth. The sight of well-bred young ladies unsheathing daggers from between the soft folds of their pretty gowns appeared to heat the blood of many a gentleman audience member, a hard thing to begrudge the dear fellows, albeit highly improper.
Just as bland cooking is brightened by the adding of spice and seasoning, I have often felt that Pride and Prejudice would benefit greatly from the addition of subversive behaviours to liven up the interactions between its characters - a ribald word, untimely flatulence... anything that would prevent me from dozing off in the middle of all those tediously repressed exchanges. I must, therefore, applaud the use of violence toward this end. Turning Mr. Darcy’s failed proposal of marriage to Miss Bennett into an antique-smashing dust-up between the two infuses the scene with unprecedented passion – bravo indeed.
Alas, whatever bite there may be at the start, the film is rendered toothless by the finish. The incongruous presence of zombie creatures and well-born country girls up to their corsets in gore is an entertaining novelty at first, but becomes repetitive by the halfway point. I fear the boring, marriage-obsessed plot is ultimately not saved even by a whist party that ends in smashed skulls and guests spattered with the viscera of the undead. That being said, I lend my voice in support of introducing zombies to other well-loved period pieces; Northanger Abbey and Zombies would be marvellous. Downton Abbey and Zombies would, in modern parlance, be simply off the hook.
With sincerest regards,