Movie Date: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (NC16)
This appetising combination of period chick flick and zombies boasts beauty, brawn and yes, brains.
STARRING: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Lena Headey, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Jack Huston
DIRECTOR: Burr Steers
THE SKINNY: Jane Austen's revered 19th-century literary heroine Elizabeth Bennet (James) and her sisters are no damsels in distress. They are re-imagined as extremely skilled zombie killers in this adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's popular mash-up novel. Elizabeth also finds herself in a romantic tangle with the haughty but respected zombie slayer, Mr Darcy (Riley).
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
It's amazing that this flick works as well as it does.
It's a period chick flick based on a classic Austen novel, but it's also a zombie movie.
It should have been a disaster, but ends up an absolute triumph.
The romance is romantic. The horror is horrific. And somehow it all ends up gelling into a satisfying whole.
I think the key to its success is the tone.
It's funny, but not too funny. It's serious, but not too serious.
Director Steers makes you care for the characters and their plight, thanks to his light touch, making the melodrama and mayhem equally palatable.
The visuals are absolutely stunning.
Period pictures often come across as stuffy and static, but this one jumps off the screen.
The era is that much sexier when shaded with dark gothic touches.
Riley is a revelation as Mr Darcy, with his black leather frock coat and knee-high riding boots.
He looks darker, sharper and more dangerous than Colin Firth ever did - like a rock star almost.
But the very best thing about the film is James.
She takes the already feisty Elizabeth and powers her up with Buffy The Vampire Slayer afterburners.
She was lovely in Cinderella, but here she goes well beyond that, finding the perfect balance between love-sick maiden and kick-butt heroine.
Rating : 5/5
VENUS by JOANNE SOH
I like how Pride And Prejudice And Zombies doesn't take itself seriously.
The title says it all, and director Steers and his cast clearly understand their source material.
This is a silly romp, packed with humour and action.
It's also a movie that champions feminism, something that will appease die-hard Austen purists who think altering Pride And Prejudice is a sacrilegious act.
The script even has lines that are lifted directly from the English author's beloved tome.
The movie is uneven at the start, where earlier scenes with and without the zombies work better on their own.
But when the rhythm finally kicks in, that's when the fun begins.
James is a worthy Austen heroine, playing her Elizabeth as proud and plucky yet vulnerable.
Heathcote offers great support as older sister Jane, while Headey hams it up as the formidable Lady Catherine.
With so many strong women in the picture, the men are sidelined and quite forgettable, except the hilarious Smith who pretty much steals the thunder as clergyman Mr Collins.
Happily, there is enough carnage and heaving bosoms to keep the guys entertained, especially for those who will be dragged to watch this by their other halves.
Rating : 3/5
THE CONSENSUS: This appetising combination of period chick flick and zombies boasts beauty, brawn and yes, brains.