Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A genre bending film with promise that falls slightly short

If you ever wondered what you get when you cross “Hollyoaks” (TV series), with “Nativity!” (2009), “High School Musical” (2006) and Dawn of the Dead” (1978), then wonder no more – “Anna and the Apocalypse” is here. (I actually don’t need to describe the film much more than that!)

The concept of the film is great and is fairly original too, a teen musical horror film, set at Christmas, with a zombies in full swing. The plot isn’t massively complex and can be watched by anyone. In short, Anna doesn’t initially realize that a zombie apocalypse is happening until it’s upon her. Then, along with some ‘friends’ she meets along the way, she has to survive. She wants to check up on people she cares for, but by the end it’s just a case of survival.

The pace of the film is affected from trying to squeeze everything in, and wrapping it up with drama too. Unfortunately there were moments were I was hoping things would move on but didn’t, and there were moments too were I was able to guess what would happen. The musical numbers didn’t really leave a lasting impression like a good musical would – I couldn’t recall any of them now if I had a gun to my head. Nor did many of the zombie kills or chase scenes, they happened, but they aren’t truly memorable. The film felt a little bit like an amateur college production rather than a studio produced film.

The casting is decent and Ella Hunt does a fantastic job as Anna, granted she is central character but her talent really does shine through and drive the film. Opposite her are other young faces, all of who do decent enough acting jobs, with maybe Malcolm Cumming standing out as John. It isn’t all kids though, Mark Benton plays Anna’s dad Tony, and Paul Kaye gives a decent performance as Arthur Savage too.

All in all, a brave and original concept which felt like a great starting point, but didn’t fully deliver and felt a little unsubstantial by the end. I’m still giving this 5 out of 10 though, I’ve seen loads worse and I liked the bravery shown to bend genres here. Close, but no cigar.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/10)

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