Comedy and horror are such unusual bedfellows. As an odd couple, they’ve spawned motion pictures like Mel Brooks’ “Younger Frankenstein,” Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” Aside from maybe Burton’s adaptation of the Broadway present “Sweeny Todd” and Frank Ouncess “Little Store of Horrors,” few motion pictures on this Frankensteined subgenre have gone as far as to placed on the ritz as boldly as John McPhail’s Christmas-themed zombie comedy, “Anna and the Apocalypse.”
The Anna (Ella Hunt) of the title is an adventurous highschool senior wanting ahead to taking a niche yr earlier than school to see the world outdoors her dwelling in Scotland—if her overprotective dad (Mark Benton) doesn’t get in the best way of her plans. After college, she works in a bowling alley along with her finest good friend John (Malcolm Cumming), who principally retains his emotions for her at bay. The 2 are associates with a set of lovebirds, Chris (Christopher Leveaux) and Lisa (Marli Siu), and unknowingly share their schoolyard disenchantment with the campus’ resident activist, Steph (Sarah Swire), an American scholar simply dumped by her girlfriend and whose mother and father have left her alone for Christmas.
However by the following morning, their ho-hum spirits really feel like a moot level within the wake of the zombie apocalypse. Anna and John encounter their first monster on their solution to college and resolve to take shelter again at their bowling alley, the place they run into Chris and Steph. The viewers and performers within the college’s Christmas present—which incorporates Anna’s dad and Lise—lock themselves within the cafeteria on the command of the uptight principal, Savage (Paul Kaye). Now, the group should reunite with their family members in school earlier than it’s too late.
“Anna and the Apocalypse” shares a lot in frequent with Edgar Wright’s breakout zombie comedy, “Shaun of the Useless.” Every film revels within the grotesque process of killing zombies, establishing comical methods for our heroes to struggle again with vinyl data or pointy garden ornaments. The scene the place Anna places in her headphones for an upbeat musical quantity as zombies tear via her neighborhood resembles the morning after the scene when Shaun repeats his morning routine with out noticing zombies have eaten his neighbors and sure the comfort retailer clerk. McPhail additionally consists of one shortly edited montage of the group getting right into a automobile and driving away as a stylistic nod to Wright’s frenetic cuts.
The film’s many pop songs add to that energetic spirit. Like a scrappier, naughtier “Excessive College Musical,” the teenagers will sing about not becoming in, not having their emotions reciprocated. At occasions, the transitions to verse are a bit tough, however among the numbers are so weird, it’s straightforward to chortle. In a single tune, the principal chides college students for tweeting their each empty thought, in one other, a gaggle of bullies kill zombies as they’re belting out a masculine tune. For Lisa’s Christmas present efficiency, she sings a dirty tune so stuffed with double entendres, it may need made Ernst Lubitsch proud. In fact, that’s not all she has in retailer, as mid-way via her tune, six shirtless males in purple shorts and suspenders flank her to drive dwelling her quantity’s sexual overtones.
The playful spirit of “Anna and the Apocalypse” extends to its cinematography, the place it swings wildly from colourful areas just like the Christmas present stage to the greyest shade of grim outdoors in the course of the zombie invasion. These visible contrasts amp up the already odd coupling of loss of life, destruction, excessive kicks and excessive notes. In a saner film, these two totally different shade palettes could have regarded too jarring however it works within the film to play up the chaos—a lot of which takes place off-screen or in fast doctored pictures of the city. What the film lacks in finances, it makes up with spunk.
What number of different Christmas-themed horror comedy musicals have such catchy songs, good jokes sprinkled all through suspenseful moments, and an ensemble devoted to pulling it off? “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a present for the midnight film crowd that’s simply as liable to interrupt out into tune as to have a good time every main zombie kill. It’s a kind of uncommon horror motion pictures to depart you with good vacation cheer.