Anna and the Apocalypse review: A festive merger of zombies, Christmas and high-school musicals

Steve Hogarty
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Anna and the Apocalypse

A zombie high-school musical set in a provincial Scottish suburb at Christmas, Anna and the Apocalypse occupies a vanishingly thin sliver of a Venn diagram of mostly maligned sub-genres, but manages to be more entertaining than the sum of its body parts.

Plucky heroine Anna (Ella Hunt) is about to graduate, with her plans to travel the world before college putting a wedge between her and her father. Her best friend is a walking sack of barely concealed unrequited love, who quivers with benign jealousy at the sight of Anna’s ex-boyfriend, who is whatever the Scottish version of a jock is. Other buddies include the film geek – required for any zombie movie as a means of skipping past expository scenes about how you have to destroy the brain – and his girlfriend, the theatrical one.

This very consciously by-the-numbers mashup wears its influences on bloodied sleeves. In one particularly blatant imitation of Shaun of the Dead, Anna sing-songs her way to school, oblivious to the undead carnage unfolding around her. The songs are teen-poppy, the gore is hot and gloopy, and there’s just enough of a hint of self-awareness throughout to keep the drama on the right side of schmaltzy. Absolutely loads of people die too, which is nice.

Anna and the Apocalypse is unoriginal but fun, a festive mix of undead violence and over-enthusiastic glee club numbers.