Based on the 2009 Seth Grahame-Smith novel of the same name, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes elements of the classic 1813 Jane Austen story of love between social classes in the 19th century, and injects the looming threat of zombie hordes. The story follows protagonist Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and her sisters through their lives that become devoted to training and fighting the legion of zombies intent on devouring them and those they love. Eventually she becomes acquainted with zombie killer Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) and the two begin their iconic romance as they square off against the walking dead.
A period piece zombie film is one of those ideas that is so obvious we kick ourselves for not coming up with them first. Many entries into the modern zombie zeitgeist have become bogged down by the abundance of technology; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies effectively skirts that concept by taking the action to a place where the most high tech thing these characters can hope to find is a flintlock pistol.
It’s worth noting that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies seems to be coming around at an incredibly opportune time. As a primarily female-fronted action film, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies joins the ranks of recent projects such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix series, which have all but eliminated the antiquated notion of the damsel in distress in favor of dominant female protagonists who can independently kick ass without the need for male assistance.
While stylish action and a few awesome female ass kickers show the movie’s promise, it is not entirely without risk. The film still needs to ensure that the balance of hardcore action with Victorian sensibilities stays dark and accessible; otherwise the film could end up being a mockery of itself – more 2004’s Van Helsing than 2012’s Exit Humanity.
We will see if 19th century romance and zombie carnage make for as good of a combination on screen as they do on the page. Pride and Prejudice and Zombieswill hit theaters on February 5, 2016.