Saturday, 1 December 2018

Anna And The Apocalypse - Review

There is a new festive film in town to add to the list of "Is it really a Christmas film?", joining every Shane Black film and Die Hard. Say hello to Anna And The Apocalypse.
Set in a small town outside of Glasgow, a zombie outbreak threatens the teenagers as they approach their end-of-term Christmas show.
Set at Christmas with a plot that involves family trying to be reunited? Sounds like a Christmas film to me.
What it is for certain is Scotland's answer to High School musical meets Shaun Of The Dead. High School Musi-Kill if you will.
One of the strengths of the film is that asides from one or two minor references to a pandemic on the radio, the first act is played straight as a musical... and a very good one at that as the songs such as Break Away and Not Another Hollywood Ending are right out of Disney film.
At the centre of it all is Anna, a young woman who has lost her mother, at odds with her father and wishing to escape her life to explore the world. It's just a shame that those pesky zombies take a bite out of her plans.
Ella Hunt plays our heroine and is the UK's answer to Anna Kendrick. She can sing, do comedy and handle the emotion.
Surrounding her are the stereotypical high schoolers; the best friend, the bad boy, the couple, the outcast.
Of these, Sarah Swire deserves special acclaim along with Paul Kaye chewing scenery rather than flesh as a vindictive, angry headmaster.
When the zombie attack takes hold, the musical numbers tend to take a back seat to the ultra violence which is more than you'd see on Sauciehall Street on a Saturday night in the run up to Xmas.
Director John MacPhail and writer Andy MacDonald (based on Ryan McHenry's short film) clearly have a love for the genre as there are many references to Night Of The Living Dead and Shaun Of The Dead (there are some classic Edgar Wright edits in there).
What's more, their knowledge extends to being able to take the tropes and cliches and turn them on their undead heads and surprise audiences.
It's an all-singing, all-dancing Grange Hill meets The Walking Dead. La La Land of the Dead!

4 stars

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