T’was the night before Christmas … when a zombie apocalypse threatened the sleepy town of Little Haven. Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends John (Malcolm Cumming), Steph (Sarah Swire), Chris (Christopher Leveaux), and Lisa (Marli Siu), wake to find a zombie virus has infected their town, and most of the world, right before the Christmas holidays! The gang must sing and slash their way to survival, fending off both the undead and an unhinged high school Headmaster, Mr. Savage (Paul Kaye). Anna and the Apocalypse becomes a desperate race to reunite with their loved ones taking refuge in their high school.
Anna and the Apocalypse is a low-budget Scottish Christmas zombie musical (yes, you heard me) directed by John McPhail, and written by Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry. The film is adapted from a 2011 short film entitled Zombie Musical.
Interestingly, despite its absurd nature, the film is probably an accurate representation of how the current population, over-saturated with zombie films, would deal with an actual zombie apocalypse. This self-awareness makes it gaudy in the best way – insincere enough to be enjoyable yet serious enough to say something vague about teenage angst and zombified tech-head millennials.
The whole aesthetic is pretty kitsch, the zombie makeup and blood and gore is stylized but reasonable for an independent film. There are a few cheesy stunts, and a couple of trope scenes but the film is not boringly predictable. Conversely, characters are not as precious as you’d assume. The songs are super catchy and will be stuck in your head for a few days, and the acting and singing is high quality.
While some of the comedy is hit and miss, the film is still delightfully humorous and feel-good throughout. Anna and the Apocalypse is a fun watch, and manages to combine musical and horror elements enough to keep audiences interested, while shifting smoothly between serious and comedic moments. For an upbeat film, Anna and the Apocalypse manages to find some touching moments too. However, the film doesn’t delve deep enough into horror or musical to really satisfy hardcore fans of either.
Anna and the Apocalypse is clever and original, with a bit of Christmas spectacle thrown in. If you’re looking for a different Christmas flick this year, look no further.
I rate this film 7/10.
Anna and the Apocalypse is in select Australian theaters from 29th November.
ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE – Official Australian Trailer from Aaron Darr on Vimeo.