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Review: Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

Directed by: John McPhail

Premise: A musical in which teenagers fight to survive a zombie apocalypse during the Christmas season.

What Works: The core cast of young actors does a good job in this film. Ella Hunt is well cast in the title role as a young woman who wants to break out of her small town upon graduation. Also impressive is Sarah Swire who demonstrates terrific comic timing. The film’s best musical performance belongs to Marli Siu singing “It’s That Time of Year.” That particular musical number is very funny and the comedy is the best aspect of this film. Anna and the Apocalypse has a variety of humor from physical gags to double entendres, and the movie is consistently funny.

What Doesn’t: The concept of Anna and the Apocalypse is much better than its execution. This is by no means the first zombie comedy. Movies like Shaun of the Dead, Cooties, and Fido have already done that and done it better. This movie is distinguished by the fact that it’s a musical but aside from “It’s That Time of Year” the music of Anna and the Apocalypse consists of bland pop tunes that sound like an imitation of Glee. And that is the overriding problem with Anna and the Apocalypse. Nearly everything in it is generic and cliché. The characters and conflicts are wholesale imitations of high school comedies like Sixteen Candles and the talent show sequence is right out of Mean Girls. The characters are equally derivative; they are so stereotypical that Anna and the Apocalypse nearly plays as a parody like Not Another Teen Movie. The film is also unimpressive as a zombie picture. It isn’t scary, it has no atmosphere, nor does it find anything new to do with the material. This is a bunch of zombie movie clichés dumped into the middle of a boiler plate high school story. The use of Christmas is also uninspired. Unlike Gremlins, which was specific to the holiday season and used it for gags and ambiance, Anna and the Apocalypse just uses Christmas as a gimmick. It has nothing to say about the holiday and this story could be relocated to any time of year without significantly changing anything. 

Bottom Line: The idea of Anna and the Apocalypse is a lot more interesting than the content of the movie. It has a few laughs but too much of this movie is bland and derivative.

Episode: #730 (December 23, 2018)