Director: John McPhail
Screenplay: Alan McMonald, Ryan McHenry
Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Ben Wiggins, Christopher Leveaux, Marli Siu, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye
Running Time: 92 min
BBFC Certificate: 15
A crazy mix of zombies, romance, political and social comment at Christmas, wrapped up in a musical makes for an unique zombie viewing experience.
It’s Christmas and the normal school trials and tribulations run their course as the students prepare for the Christmas play, when suddenly the school erupts into song with “ Hollywood Ending”. After half an hour of getting to know everyone, a “Shaun of the Dead” style start to the zombie holocaust ensues. Our heroes are completely oblivious to the zombie massacre happening all around them, that is until a zombie snowman turns up and is swiftly decapitated by a children’s see-saw. Our heroes are not worried exclaiming “The government will sort all this out” and are only mildly interested by a news report that Justin Bieber is a zombie.
The killing spree starts in earnest as the poor old zombie cleaning lady is dispatched with a toilet seat and zombies burst into the bowling alley to suffer a range of bowling alley inspired deaths. The kids manage to stave off the undead throng and hope that the army will save them, but when they wake up in the morning sadly the army are shuffling pulse-less cannibals. It keeps getting worse as the survivors are subjected to legions of cannibal corpses including killer old people but we are kept smiling by piles of hilarious song lyrics. The school jocks step-up in a bid to do something useful for once and begin to fight back against the living dead multitude while the insane headmaster tries to save the day with his twelve point plan. The most successful plan though, seems to be to beat the way out with a giant candy cane and a leg, oh and television seems to be another new way to stop being eaten alive, in dig at technology.
Much to my surprise I quite enjoyed the cheesy songs, amusing one liners such as “Justin Bieber is a zombie” and the social comment including a rash of zombie selfies posted on line. At times I did feel the film was going to loose its way and drop pace, but the day was saved by a series of rousing choruses one of which is the inspirational “Human Voice”, as another poke at our digital age. There’s a few sneaky “Shaun of the Dead” references which are in turn “Dawn of the Dead” references, which we always enjoy. You’ll recognise Mark Benton from many places including Waterloo Road and Paul Kaye from Game of Thrones. Anna and the Apocalypse is energetic and well shot, with top-notch acting and stand alone songs. Sadly Ryan McHenry died in 2015 and missed out on seeing his short film turned into a full length gut muncher.
Anna and the Apocalypse is on digital HD on the 22nd March and out on DVD on the 8th of April from Vertigo Releasing.
I am unable to comment on the disc quality or extras as I viewed an on line link.