Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Film review #383
Director: John McPhail
SYNOPSIS: Anna is about to finish high school and plans to travel for a year before going to university, much to her dad’s disapproval. However, a zombie outbreak and the onset of the apocalypse have altered her plans somewhat, and Anna and her school friends must find a way to survive the end of the world…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Anna and the Apocalypse is a 2017 comedy/horror musical. The film starts off introducing Anna, a high school student who is planning on having a gap year before starting university, much to her Dad’s dismay. Anna and her friends also have plenty of problems at school including the new authoritarian headteacher and the usual teenage trouble. All of these issues are bypassed however, when a zombie outbreak occurs and Anna must find a way to survive with her friends and find her father. The story is fairly standard and doesn’t offer a deep lore-filed story. It’s a zombie outbreak like every other zombie outbreak, and it isn’t integral to the story to go into detail with regards to its origins. What makes the film stand out is that it is also a musical, ending up as a musical.comedy/horror hybrid, the film takes on a lot of different tones, but for the most part I think it does a good job of handling the variety well.
The characters are well defined, and each of the students has their own personality and reacts to the apocalypse differently, which is the sort of diversity you would expect from a group of teenagers. The musical numbers also help in this regard, as each of the main characters has at least a song in which they express their emotions and opinions in a unique way.The songs aren’t so memorable that you’ll remember them after the film has ended, but they are catchy and enjoyable so that a wide range of people will enjoy them. They also help in allowing the viewer to invest in the characters and their emotions, which leaves more of an impact when they die…and they do die, because this film does get quite dark in places and makes you feel the weight of their sacrifices.
Anna and the Apocalypse is not a big production affair, but it doesn’t need to be, as it keeps its focus on the characters and small-scale scenes that feel very personal. I suppose it also counts as a Christmas movie, although it’s definitely not very festive. I can’t find much to criticise in this film: it works within its boundaries and creates a simple story crossing genres, with a diverse cast and personal interactions augmented by serviceable performances and music. It’s not rewriting the genre, but it’s more than entertaining enough to sit through as an alternative Christmas movie.