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11 Feb 2016

Clever Idea Wasted: PG-13 Sloppiness Dooms 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'

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Sam Riley and Douglas Booth and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Sam Riley and Douglas Booth and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

The zombie movie craze hits what I hope to be its low point with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a crap attempt at horror comedy featuring a fairly faithful take on the Jane Austen classic mixed with the undead.

Lily James, so delightful in Cinderella, plays Elizabeth Bennet, one of the esteemed Bennet sisters—and a zombie-hunter. She sets her sights on Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), who thinks she’s pretty and all that, but he must refrain from serious courtship in order to behead some ghouls.

With this film adaptation of the best-selling book, director Burr Steers shoots for a PG-13 rating, which results in much of the action taking place off-screen or in the dark so as to reduce the bloodletting. The movie features so much carnage that it feels incomplete thanks to the soft-shoeing of the yucky stuff.

As for the balance of period romance and comedic bloodletting, Steers never finds a comfortable place. The movie feels uneven and sloppy, with lousy special effects and players who look lost.

As with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter before it, a clever idea got lost in messy direction and lousy scripting. It’s a shame, because Riley and James are much better than this.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is playing at theaters across the valley.

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