Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Anna and the Apocalypse

Release date: November 30, 2018
Running time: 97 minutes
Starring:  Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire

I knew I would love this movie from the moment I heard the combination: Zombie Christmas Musical. If Shaun of the Dead meets Glee sounds remotely interesting to you, you will love it (side note: Glee is a much closer comparison than La La Land, despite the movie poster quote).

Let me set the stage. Take one dash Glee—with its high school drama, spontaneous bouts
of singing, and over the top characters—add in some apocalyptic zombies, and let the ridiculousness ensue. There is not one overarching theme in this movie: zombie gore is broken up by musical numbers, high school drama is broken up by zombie hordes, family tension is met with high school silliness. The themes change enough to keep you from focusing on one movie trope, but there is enough of a through line to keep the story moving.  What you end up with is an interesting combination of movie themes that normally don't go together, yet mesh perfectly.  

The characters are varied enough that the rag tag group of friends play enough off each other to keep you engaged.  You get a mixed set of high school arch types, from outcasts hoping to escape their small town, to popular kids picking on said outcasts, and some that are in between.  As with the themes, the characters have enough variety, and are generally very likable, to keep you engaged throughout the film.  

The film is not without its flaws. Some of the characters are unlikable and many of them are one-dimensional (despite the hamstrung attempts to give these characters additional depth).  There are some attempts at drama that fall flat.  And some of the songs are better than others.  And overall, the movie is too short.  Personally, I could have used a few more musical numbers, high school drama, and zombie actionbasically I just wanted more of this charming, flawed, unique movie.

But at its core Anna and the Apocalypse is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It is not a flawless movie, but it is one that I loved all the way through its 97 minutes.  It offers something refreshingly different from anything else out now, with the perfect combination of holiday cheer, catchy music, zombie action, funny characters, and high school drama. It’s a movie that as soon as the credits rolled, I wanted to listen to the soundtrack and watch again. Anna and the Apocalypse is one of my favorite movies of the year, and one that has stayed with me since seeing it. If the combination of Shaun of the Dead and Glee sounds interesting to you, go see this excellent holiday treat.

Watch it.

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