Anna and the Apocalypse is a horror/comedy musical that crams ALL THE THINGS that make me happy into an epically entertaining, gory, zombie film that is dripping with teenage angst and is accompanied by a fabulously toe-tapping soundtrack.
It is Anna’s last year of high school and instead of heading to university next year, she plans to leave the small town of Little Haven, Scotland behind and travel the world. It’s a rather unpopular decision with her overprotective father and her best friend John who has been pining for her unrequitedly for years.
But there are bigger things to worry about than upsetting fathers and best friends. A virus has been spreading across the globe and it’s finally reached Little Haven. Zombies are taking the town over and Anna and John, along with their lovebird friends (Chris and Lisa), school bully (Nick), and the displaced American (Steph), need to navigate their way through undead hordes, an unhinged headmaster, and a creepy Christmas Tree Emporium where zombies could be lurking behind every branch, as they try to make their way back to the high school and their loved ones.
The Technical Side
I don’t know much about the technical aspects of filmmaking, but from a simple viewer’s perspective, I feel like this film nailed it in terms of creating the perfect campy feel without looking low budget (which it evidently was!).
Contrast is key throughout the movie both visually and aurally. The small-town setting, antiquated bowling alley (hilariously named Thunder Balls) and anachronistic high school, are splattered with colour with all the trimmings that come with the Christmas season. As they say in the movie itself, ‘t’s like Narnia threw up on Oz’. Scenes alternate from stark and apocalyptic to Christmas pageant shiny and it is a stimulating and awesome experience.
The music is the incongruity icing on the cake; infectiously energetic at times and morose and angsty at others. Not only are the lyrics full of foreshadowing but the juxtaposition of poppy glam tunes with all the glorious gore that comes with zombie flicks, is simply phenomenal. The scene accompanying the song ‘Turning My Life Around’ is pure comic genius as Anna and John dance and sing in blissful unawareness while zombies rampage and devour everyone around them.
My Favourite Parts
The cast is simply brilliant and ooze talent all over the screen. I am not sure what I loved more, John’s ugly Christmas sweater, Lisa’s amazing and sensual Christmas pageant performance, or the myriad of comical ways the group comes up with to kill zombies. Armed with unconventional zombie sleighing (spelling intended) weapons like a giant candy cane, bowling balls, a toilet seat, a spatula, a seesaw, and a mannequin’s leg, Anna and friends are the zombies’ worst nightmare! And let’s not forget the Fish Wrap and the Evac Selfie craze. I am still in stitches.
SPOILER ALERT – read no further until after you watch the movie, but I just have to say that one of the best aspects of this movie is how it blows a big raspberry in the face of the bury your gays trope and the lesbian not only survives the Little Haven zombpocalypse, but also saves the day!
Cons And Heads Up
My only con is that I have never seen a live version of this epic film. I mean this is cinematic brilliance that I will cherish forever…but imagine seeing it live!
This movie is on my required Christmas viewing list, but I will happily watch it all year long. If you are looking for a bit of Christmas fear to go with your cheer, this movie will deliver both in spades.
Watch the Trailer
Where To Watch Anna and the Apocalypse
Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV
Bits and Bobs
Director: John McPhail
Producers: Naysun Alae-Carew, Tracy Brimm, Stephen Jarvis, Orion Lee, James Norrie
Writers: Alan McDonald, Ryan McHenry
Music by: Roddy Hart; Tommy Reilly
Actors: Ella Hunt, Malcom Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu
If you enjoyed Anna and the Apocalypse then you should also look at
Note: No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site