Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Book Review by Maria Ramos
Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy.
You can follow her on Twitter @MariaRamos1889.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Book Review
Zombies, vampires, and other creepy crawlies are currently enjoying their 15 minutes of fame, to the delight of horror fans everywhere. Not only that, but the groaning death machines of yore have given way to more fun, hip monsters that the whole family can enjoy watching. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fits right into this new genre, which also includes gems like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Victor Frankenstein, and the even more whimsical zombie romance, Warm Bodies. Like many great films before it, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies started its life as a book, and with the movie’s release date fast approaching, it’s time to take another look at the source material.
Before reading a single word, the premise of the book is already genius. It is loosely based on the 1813 novel by Jane Austen about a group of sisters and their struggle to see themselves settled in life. Author Seth Grahame-Smith took that novel and turned it on its head in the best way possible, while still retaining the writing style and tone of the Regency-era original. Taking what was an extremely proper tale about the search for a suitable husband and introducing face eating monsters into it could not help but be entertaining. Writing the solemn and sometimes prim maidens as capable warriors instead of damsels in distress elevated the entertainment tenfold.
In fact, prim is the last word that comes to mind about heroine Elizabeth Bennet. The original character was somewhat unforgiving and self righteous – this modern adaptation is positively implacable in her quest for justice, and has no qualms about getting her hands dirty in the process. Mr. Bennet goes from being a very passive and absentminded father to having trained his daughters to be his own personal army. Not all the characters have changed so drastically, however. Mrs. Bennet still has marriage very firmly on the mind, though the zombie hordes roaming the countryside complicate her personal mission. Wickham is still a fortune hunting cad and Bingley still relies a little too heavily on Darcy’s opinion. Other key plot points also remain the same, including Darcy’s original misjudgment of his friend’s romantic prospects and Lydia Bennet’s unfortunate elopement.
This combination of old and new, demure and zany, come together to form what is perhaps the best adaptation of an Austen book the world has seen in recent years. Though many older movie versions of Pride and Prejudice can be found on your local channels and through cable TV, including some which are themselves well worth watching, none are as original as this latest insane attempt. Battles of wit are turned into real knock down, drag out fights. Social slights are punishable by far more than behind-the-gloves gossip, and readers can be sure that any passive aggressive behavior in the original novel has been re-written without the passivity. Author Grahame-Smith was reportedly given the idea for the book by editor Jason Rekulak, and if that is the case he owes Rekulak a very nice bottle of wine in thanks.
If the film adaptation is half as clever as the book, there’s no way it won’t become a cult classic. Director Burr Steers is also the author of the screenplay, and has previously worked on such projects as How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Charlie St. Cloud. Though the tone of this project is decidedly different, he certainly has the industry experience to pull it off. Actors Lily James and Sam Riley play the central characters and are both photogenic and charming enough to pull in an audience. While better books than this have been ruined by bad movie adaptations, there’s a lot of reason to hope that this time they’ll get it right.