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Anna and the Apocalypse

A Christmas teen zombie apocalypse musical.

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Drawing on HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and THE WALKING DEAD in equal measure, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE is a madcap mix of zombie gore, festive cheer, and cheesy songs. Set in the small Scottish town of Little Haven at Christmas, the genre-blending story follows the titular teenage Anna, played by newcomer ELLA HUNT, as she and her friends seek to reunite with their loved ones and survive in a zombie-ridden world.

The film’s strength lies in its cast of relative unknowns, playing a diverse array of engaging characters. Though Anna’s friends initially fulfil various high school stereotypes; the film geek, the jock, and the woke outsider, these stereotypes are entertainingly exploded and sent up. Several of the main characters are permitted their own subplots to diffuse the film’s focus on Anna and pad out what would otherwise be a fairly thin story. Indeed, straight-laced Anna begins to look rather lifeless in comparison to her more animated school companions. The villainous deputy headmaster, for instance, (PAUL KAYE) entertainingly transitions from overbearing jobsworth to out and out maniacal tyrant in the post-apocalyptic world.

Catchily composed by RODDY HART and TOMMY REILLY, the film’s songs neatly explore the bonds of friendship under the tough times, lending the film, despite its gimmicky setup, a surprising emotional weight. Relying more on jump scares than any sense of foreboding, the horror elements in the film are successfully woven into an essentially good-natured coming-of-age comedy.

Made on a shoestring budget, the film’s production is a minor Christmas miracle. JOHN McPHAIL’s direction balances out the multiple demands of the script to full effect without leaning too heavily on either comedy or horror. SARA DEANE’s cinematography admirably fulfils the film’s many visual genre requirements, switching neatly from widescreen musical numbers and colourful gory violence to scenes of intimacy. The film began life as a 2010 BAFTA-winning short directed by RYAN McHENRY, who tragically died at the age of 27 from a rare form of bone cancer before he could direct the feature film.

At times a little too reminiscent of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and certainly overlong, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE still succeeds on its own measure, delivering an entertaining and surprisingly cohesive mashup of genre elements with emotional depth, and catchy musical numbers.

Paul Sharratt

Credits

Original title: Anna and the Apocalypse
Großbritannien 2017, 107 min
Language: English
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Musical
Director: John McPhail
Author: Alan McDonald, Ryan McHenry
DOP: Sara Deane
Montage: Mark Hermida
Music: Roddy Hart, Tommy Reilly
Distributor: Splendid Film
Cast: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Ella Jarvis
FSK: 16
Release: 06.12.2018

Website

Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

ALLE ANGABEN OHNE GEWÄHR.
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