Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: Anna and the Apocalypse is the best Scottish, Christmas, zombie musical comedy you will ever see.
In which you will cheer, laugh, and cry all the while listening to your new favorite Christmas tunes.
Snow is falling, Christmas carols can be heard all over, and the undead are destroying the world. What is a girl to do but kick ass and sing her way through the Scottish apocalypse? That’s truly all you need to know about this Shaun of the Dead meets High School Musical mashup you never knew you needed.
Written by Alan McDonald and the late Ryan McHenry, based on their short film Zombie Musical, the story of Anna and the Apocalypse is relatively simple. While the film isn’t really filled with plot twists and big surprises, it does offer a fun and different take on the typical Hollywood Ending of most musicals.
The highlight of the story is of course the zombie element, and director John McPhail and his brilliant makeup and special effects team are up to the task in making this film worthy of belonging to the pantheon of great zombie films. Heads are smashed, bashed, and otherwise brutally messed with, and it is a beautifully gory sight.
The film isn’t really interested in being scary, though there are some scary cues, and a mid-credit scene you can’t miss. What Anna and the Apocalypse is, is funny. From a wonderful music number in which characters never realize the world is collapsing around them, to the main characters arguing about which celebrities are now zombies. This scene also makes the first of two lovely tributes to the late Ryan McHenry, who not only made the original short and helped make this film, but was famous for his vine compilations Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal.
The leads in this film are fantastic. From the badass, zombie-killing bully, to the deliciously sinister headmaster Savage – played by Game of Thrones’ Paul Kaye. But the real star is Ella Hunt as the titular Anna. Hunt is a star in the making, and she plays Anna with incredible confidence and convincing kick-assery. I would definitely stick with her when the zombies attack. Prepare yourself to see Hunt in a lot more films, because she soon will be a super star.
The real star of the film is the music. Music numbers are perfectly choreographed by Sarah Swire, who is also great as Steph in the film. And the songs written by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly will soon become part of your annual Christmas playlist.
Each song is catchier than the last, and the film has the best double-entendre Christmas song you’ll ever hear, and you’re going to want to play it to your grandparents and see their reaction.
Anna and the Apocalypse turns a completely bonkers concept into one of the most fun films you’ll see in years, a soon to be Christmas and Halloween favorite. Seriously, I need to buy the soundtrack right now. You guys are not prepared for the experience that is this film.
Grade: Opening Night