Monday With Mildred: “Anna and the Apocalypse”

                                                This is a Zombie World Tour.

Anna and the Apocalypse movie teaser poster.

Anna and the Apocalypse

What is wrong with the world that this film has been on my queue so long? Luckily, it’s the perfect time of year for me to tell you about this gem because it’s the holidays, a time of family, togetherness, good will and good cheer, charity, and lots of bitey zombies. After a great pitch, “Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land” they made the film then released a confusingly entertaining trailer. The Inverse Law of Movie Trailers states emphatically that “the better the trailer the worse the movie” but even the trailer is great. I don’t know how comfortable I am with this blatant law breaking.

This Christmas Zombie Apocalypse Musical is set in Merrie Olde England where high school students wear ties and speak with a cool accent, but everything else is universally recognizable. On the cusp of leaving the comfortably predictable life of school for the scary world of adulting, there are still family to endure, social currents to navigate and evil headmasters to survive.

In a bright and modern British school there are the standard characters. Chris and Lisa are sweet and talented and very much in love. Titular Anna is still grieving the loss of her mum and counting the moments to her freedom from dad and has a flight to Australia already booked though John, her best friend in the world, wishes she would stay and notice how much he’s in love with her. Nick and his boys bully everyone in reach. Sarah is the obvious outsider with her very short hair, natural look wearing a tie, awkwardness, is the biggest target of evil Headmaster Savage, and can’t get her girlfriend to invite her to Christmas. Yeah, she’s an outsider, the American, but super pacifist until a male zombie grabs her tits and then LOOK OUT.

This film borrows from other great movies, but makes everything its own. There are Romero nods, like zombies being captivated by sparklies (Land of the Dead) and a cemetery scene (Night of the Living Dead), and a Rocky Horror Picture Show style Evil Song of Evil. My favorite is a very Shaun of the Dead sequence in which none of our heroes notice the end of the world going on all around them. This happens when social media is ignored by turning off the radio news just as the announcer says the word “reanima…”. A great misdirect with an inhaler was comic gold.

The most shocking thing may be that I liked all of the musical numbers. They were fun, with solid choreography backing them, and all the actors are fine singers. I’ve been known to rant about musicals, sometimes loudly, at length, and with world beating sarcasm, so this aspect was a real revelation. The big Christmas song was cute, funny, and not so coyly raunchy. I loved it.

There’s a lot of gore, all of it gruesome. Kudos to makeup, as the blood always looked fresh, there was always a lot of it, and blood continuity is probably the best I’ve ever seen. Two things were a little weak. I know it’s a Christmas movie so zombie kills must be made with Christmasy things. It was funny but it tends to drag the viewer out of their suspension of disbelief when filmmakers go with killing tools that obviously wouldn’t work. Also, Anna loses someone dear to her in the film, because zombies gotta kill, but the actress couldn’t seem to dredge up any tears.

I highly recommend seeing this film.  Anna and the Apocalypse is now in my Christmas movie rotation, and will probably be paired with Die Hard since I’ll have to watch them both in the bedroom. It’s a solid zombie flick, with good gore and danger and suspense. The musical numbers are all great, and the Christmas setting is a nice change and gives the opportunity for many funny moments.

CFR: In Addition: Holy Toledo Blades! I want to see this.

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