Film and Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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I never review both a film and book in the same post. Trust me though I never thought I would watch the film or read the book. When I’d heard about the book I was utterly horrified at the thought of what had been done. I let the movie roll pass me when it got released in the cinema.

Two reasons for this, the first being that I absolutely love ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen, and also the adaption by the BBC, which has nothing at all to do with Colin Firth diving into a lake, none whatsoever. Alright maybe a little, and the cute reference to it in the Zombie film delighted me. However, the thought that someone had tinkered with ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was repulsive to me especially because of the second reason.

Generally I’m more receptive to horror than I give myself credit for, zombies however are an absolute no-no. I cannot stand them. The only zombie film I’ve ever been able to watch before is ‘Shaun of the Dead’, and that is because it has the delightful mix of being a comedy as well as a horror film. Plus you know Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and cornettos.

So much to my surprise, for some reason, the other week I found myself watching a film called ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’. I still don’t know why. Pass, but I made it to the end, and there were no nightmares, which is generally the case when I accidentally walk in on my husband watching ‘The Walking Dead’.

Even stranger was the fact that after I had seen the film, I immediately started reading the book, which we had a copy of because said husband had expressed interest in it so I’d picked it up for him.

I will hold my hands up and admit that the book by Seth Grahame-Smith isn’t actually a bad book. It’s categorized as a parody, but I read it more like a counterfactual history of the novel (yeah ‘Man in the High Castle’ is still swirling around my head given what I’ve just defined is what most normal people would just call a ‘parody’. Normal is not an adjective frequently used to describe me though). It is very respectful of the original story, but has a lovely comical, tongue in cheek addition to the story: zombies. I really enjoyed it a lot more than I thought.

The reason I wanted to read the book so soon after watching the film though, is because the film is so terrible, I honestly wanted to know whether the novel had ripped apart the original story or whether it had just been the film that had only done a vague adaptation of Austen’s original. 

The only saving grace in the film was Matt Smith as Mr Collins: given the likes of Charles Dance and Lena Headley are also in it and even they weren’t good, it pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

It is just awful. As I learned, the film of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ not only bears little resemblance to Austen’s story, it doesn’t bear any resemblance to the parody novel it was based on either.

The main reason I have written this review is simple – if you want to learn how not to adapt a book into a film, read the parody novel and then brace yourself for the film. And then you are ever a writer in the position to adapt a novel into a film, remember to at least refer to your source material beyond just the title and the characters.

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