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Monday, January 28, 2019

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)




A zombie musical… Okay you have my attention. In addition to being the horror loving nerd that must be obvious to anyone that reads the Horror Dude Blog I also enjoy some musical theater. When I heard that my favorite horror subgenre was mashing up with a musical, I had to see it. Since I live in the middle of nowhere it took a while but that finally happened. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.

Anna and her friends are typical high school students dealing with all the normal drama of young love, unrequited young love, what to do after graduation, and feeling like they don’t belong. You know the typical stuff. It is Christmas time and the big concert is happening for family and friends, but Anna has to work at the bowling alley with her best friend John. This is important because they weren’t at school with most everyone else. They wake up the next morning and zombies are everywhere! Don’t you hate it when that happens? The rest of the movie is them finding each other and looking for help. Occasionally there is some singing and dancing tossed in for fun.

This movie is awesome. I don’t know what else I can say about it, but I suppose I should try. The cast is excellent and very likeable. The lead, Ella Hunt, is very talented and plays the role of Anna perfectly. This is especially so as the story progresses, and horrible things happen to people she cares about. She makes you feel the character’s pain. The music is catchy enough that I can see myself buying a copy of the soundtrack and replacing the damn Hamilton soundtrack on the next family road trip.

The story is very familiar with the outbreak and survival narrative that fans of the zombie genre will immediately recognize. But the execution is such that the movie never drags as they keep some interesting action or character development on screen at all times. Things can get a bit melodramatic, like when the school bully suddenly has a sad story about killing his father who got bit. But I’m willing to cut them some slack as everything else is so good. Speaking of sad stories, I was surprised by how dark the movie gets. As I said some horrible things happen to the people Anna cares about and in some rather brutal ways. For example, her best friend John obviously has feelings for her, but at one point she makes it really clear that they are just friends. Not long after… well use your imagination. There are several sequences like this in the movie that starts off so bright and cheery.

Can’t talk about a zombie movie, even a musical one, without mentioning the gore. First up the zombies look decent. This is early on in the outbreak, so they are pretty fresh looking. The worst we see are a couple legless undead, but not much else. Normally I like a bit more variety in my zombies, but it isn’t unusual in a movie with a smaller budget like this. They do a good job using as much practical work as possible. That includes a couple gut munching scenes and a bite here and there. We do have a bit of CGI mayhem, but it is kept at a minimum.

Most of the time when something gets as much hype as Anna and the Apocalypse did, I’m disappointed. But here the movie does live up to the buzz and I had a blast watching it. I guess if you really hate singing and dancing then this might not be the flick for you, but I still recommend giving it a chance. It might just win you over. My final word is check this one out.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer


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