Teenage Anna is desperate to move away from her hometown, where everything is too familiar. The night of the high school Christmas concert approaches and things get seriously weird and bloody when the undead arrive in town. Anna and her best friends band together to fight back as zombies threaten their loved ones.
Shaun of the Dead meets High School Musical is probably the quickest description I can think of for Anna and the Apocalypse, an unconventional Scottish zombie comedy musical from director John McPhail. It’s a zombie comedy musical, oh and it’s also a Christmas movie, opening on an enjoyable animated intro it sets the tone for the whole film. The songs and the choreography for the musical side to this film are all excellent, although not my favourite style of music the jokes land and the songs are catchy. The zombie movie side to this film also works well very much paying homage to Shaun of the Dead, look out for that iconic cricket bat, yet managing to avoid retreading old ground with it’s story, the special effects team and makeup artists were all on top form for this. The xmas movie side to it doesn’t work as well as the rest and quickly becomes forgettable that it’s even set at Xmas, it wouldn’t have required much rewriting to change the time of year and nothing much would have been lost aside from a few entertaining songs an ugly sweater and fun new choice of zombie killing weapon. All of the cast are excellent in their roles, Paul Kaye really seems to be enjoying himself and leaning into the creepy soon to be headmaster of the High School Mr Savage. Most of the characters are your stereotypical teen movie archetypes and there isn’t really much depth to any of them, the character of Nick has somewhat of an arc with his character but the rest are unfortunately rather underdeveloped. One of the reasons Shaun of the Dead works so well, is that it is a very strong comedy that could stand alone it is also a very solid Zombie movie. Unfortunately Anna and the Apocalypse is a bit muddled and sometimes feels like it isn’t sure what it wants to be, the mashing up of Disney style musical and Horror can be a bit jarring and doesn’t always gel together and like I mentioned before the Xmas movie side of it feels almost tacked on and unnecessary.
Overall an enjoyable quirky comedy that maybe stretches itself a bit thin at times, trying to be too many genres at once and may have benefited from a bit more focus. Catchy songs, funny jokes and some over the top gore Anna and the Apocalypse is a lot of fun.