In Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trailer gets surprise thumbs up

Horror fans and feminists look set to enjoy film about 'badass women demolishing zombies'

Jane Austen's novels have endured many a film adaptation, but none so gory as the latest take on Pride and Prejudice directed by Burr Steers.

The characters are familiar – feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet meets the handsome Mr Darcy – only their struggles with romance and social class are complicated somewhat by an army of zombies.

The full trailer, released this week, shows the battle-ready Bennet sisters fighting the undead, who began to rise after the black plague and are now "hunting human flesh".

Critics appear surprisingly optimistic about the film, which is due out in February.

"Mash-ups are inherently low-brow," says Screen Crush. "But! The trailers promise some clever concepts and dark humour, along with badass women demolishing zombies while wearing corsets, with the running theme being — as Charles Dance's character so wonderfully puts it — that a woman's place is not in the kitchen, but in battle."

The Austen classic was originally given its zombie make-over by author Seth Grahame-Smith in a book of the same name in 2009. Now it's been created for the big screen, with plenty of British favourites among the cast, from Doctor Who's Matt Smith to Game of Thrones' Lena Headey and Charles Dance. Maleficent's Sam Riley plays Mr Darcy, while Downton Abbey's Lily James plays Elizabeth Bennet and Sally Phillips plays her mother.

"It's all just sort of delightfully bonkers," says Screen Crush. "Here's hoping the full film can live up to the insanity of the trailers."

Den of Geek points out that it's a "bit of a departure" for director Steers, who is best known for films such as Igby Goes Down and Charlie St Cloud. "His experience as a dramatist should come in handy here though, since Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is still a period piece at heart, even if it does happen to feature an army of the drooling undead."

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies "actually looks like a pretty good zombie movie", says i09. The site notes that it is not the first literary/zombie mashup, but it "does a bit of a better job at setting up the premise".

Meanwhile, Bustle thinks the "zom-rom-com" will make the "perfect (feminist) date movie". Judging by the new trailer, this film feels "ripe full of female characters ready to not only fight zombies, but also to fight beyond tired stereotypes of women only wanting to become wives or give up their careers for a relationship", it says.

Quoting lines such as "I will never relinquish my sword for a ring", Bustle says that romance appears to be "a mere subplot to some fiercely kickass women all too ready to strap blades under their petticoats and enter a war against the undead".

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