It’s as advertised. This book really is just Pride and Prejudice with zombies added in. To fully appreciate it, you really need to read Austen’s classic. Jane Austen is responsible for “Sex in the City,” all the romantic comedies that plague our cinemas, and basically all that is Katherine Heigl. It’s not her fault, just like Edgar Allen Poe never intended for Eli Roth to take all his awkward teen vengeance out on the girls who laughed at his pimply ass in high school, but she is the seed from which all this hell has been brought forth. So it is only respectful that Grahame-Smith sully her fine English work with zombie mayhem.
P&P&Z stays true to the course. It’s the exact plot of Pride and Prejudice, to the point that kids could theoretically read P&P&Z instead of Austen for courses and get away with it, but every few pages, zombie action occurs. It doesn’t even deter from the original premise of matrimony for all, except where the book slows down with interminable carriage rides from place to place and zombies attack the villagers. It’s funny…at first. Then the joke kind of gets old. It’s like an “SNL” movie. What worked as a five minute sketch gets weak when stretched out over an entire two hours. To Grahame-Smith’s credit, he keeps true to form, and doesn’t overdo it. If he had bothered to recraft the story more than a few moments here or there, it might have been funnier. Instead, he gently tucks a combination of zombie brutality and bad kung fu cinema into his story.
Here, England has been beset by dreadfuls and unmentionables, who beset the countryside. The five Bennet daughters, trained in China by swordmasters, keep the pastoral village safe from the hordes. Other than that, it’s still the same matchmaking swoon that makes all the period pieces pool pussyjuices.
The movie needs to be done with sincerity, as if it were a real romantic piece, only with occasional sword fighting. Because Grahame-Smith takes himself seriously, it works. His next book is supposed to be Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but again, this will be a joke that outstays its welcome. Even when Jesus Christ took on the nosferatu, they had to make it a musical. If Grahame-Smith was smart, he’d stick with the Victorian stuff, and do some Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities Full of Zombies? A Christmas Carol with Vampires. That’s more like it.
Brian Prisco lives in a pina down by the mer-port of Burbank, by way of the cheesesteak-laden arteries of Philadelphia. Any and all grumblings can be directed to priscogospel at hotmail dot com.