Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

“Oh no. We can’t hang out anymore. You’re too sad. You’ve hit like, peak sad.”

Lissa’s rating: It’s like a cross between Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, Shaun of the Dead, and a Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie.

Lissa’s review: When I was younger, I believed that having the same taste in movies was necessary for a good marriage. That belief has gone the way of the Easter Bunny, faith in politicians, and all the things I said I would NEVER do as a parent before I had kids. Overlapping taste is definitely good, but I really like those nights I just want to sleep and Duckie wants to stay up and watch some horrible survival movie where people chew their arms off or evade wolves or whatever it is. He watches his movie without me complaining, and I get the whole bed for several hours. Win-win.

Every now and then though, he pulls up one that is intriguing. So when he said, “Hey, I found this musical movie about zombies. Oh, and it’s set during Christmas,” my ears perked up despite myself. I mean, let me be clear about this. It’s a zombie Christmas musical. And Mutant Reviewers was coming back online. A sign? A perfect storm? Does it matter? Zombie. Christmas. MUSICAL. I thought about going to bed, but I got sucked in.

It started because the premise was just so ridiculous. But I continued to watch because the movie was legitimately entertaining. It’s not so much the plot- the plot is paper thin and pretty standard for a movie like this. Anna is a Scottish high school student, intent on her graduation and her love life. During all the drama of high school somewhere in the background a zombie infection begins. How? Who cares? Zombies. Accept them. And of course Anna and her friends have to fight them. There’s an evil headmaster-wannabe and some romance, but that’s pretty much the long and the short of it. But really, is a detailed plot what you are here for?

If you are enjoying some of the current music from Broadway (thinking The Prom, Hadestown, etc.), you will really enjoy the music from Anna and the Apocalypse. It’s catchy and fun and leads well to group dances. The leads, none of whom I have ever seen in a movie, can all actually sing well, and the cast can also dance. The kids actually look fairly close to kids, and they are not remotely interchangeable, and are relatively good actors. While the movie is low-budget, it’s not a high school YouTube video — it’s just lacking in effects and extras. And while the plot is paper-thin, the characters are strong enough that they are actually memorable.

Make no mistake — this is definitely a cult classic type of movie. It’s cheesy and has horrible effects and is ridiculous, but it has enough quality where it’s needed that it’s enjoyable to watch as you laugh at it.

Additionally, there are some aspects that, especially now in 2020, are very relatable. There’s a song the kids sing about connecting with others through technology during an epidemic. There are people completely ignoring the epidemic that is going on right behind them. There are people who don’t believe it. And there are people posting evacuation selfies. It’s right on.

So zombie Christmas musical. Let’s face it, you know from those three words if you are going to watch this or not. But if you are in the group that is already reaching for the remote, keep reaching. You’ll enjoy it.

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