'Anna and the Apocalypse' [DVD]
(Ella Hunt, Ben Wiggins, Paul Kaye, et al / DVD / R / 2019 / Cinedigm)
Overview: A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones.
But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.
DVD Verdict: Beginning like many teen flicks, we meet the teenagers who each believes they are the center of the universe, and during this opening act, we only get a single fake zombie tease (but it's a good one).
Anna (Ella Hunt) is a high school senior preparing to take a year and travel to Australia - against the wishes of her protective widower dad (Mark Benton).
Anna constantly hangs out with her friend-zone buddy John (Malcolm Cumming), whether at school or at the bowling alley where they both work.
Their friends are lovebirds Chris (Christopher Leveaux) and Lisa (Marli Siu), and Steph (Sarah Swire) the American-social activist- recently dumped lesbian who is an outsider to both her peers and the tyrannical school principal Savage (Paul Kaye).
Ms. Siu takes center stage at the school's Christmas production and beautifully performs one of the more double-entendre laden Santa songs you've likely ever heard.
The other musical highlight occurs the next morning as Anna and John skip off to school blissfully unaware of the carnage occurring all around them ... a nice statement on how teenagers view the world.
What follows are some gruesome and creative zombie kills, especially those featuring a snowman and the bowling alley.
The jokes, pop songs and grizzly kills keep things zipping along as the teenagers try to save themselves and their loved ones, although when the school Principal veers towards maniacal psychopath, he becomes a bit of a distraction.
For those not in the know, co-writer Ryan McHenry passed away in 2015, and his 2011 short film ZOMBIE MUSICAL is exactly what has been lovingly adapted here to become a feature-length movie by director John McPhail and writer Alan McDonald.
The songs are co-written by Tommy Reilly and Roddy Hart, and the result is a delightfully entertaining movie that will likely find a long shelf-life in the midnight slot for many holiday seasons to come.
It likely would have benefited from another song or two, and remains an oddball mash-up of Glee, High School Musical, Sweeny Todd, and, of course, the reigning king of this genre, 'Shaun Of The Dead.'
In closing, 'Anna and the Apocalypse' certainly deserves bonus points for creativity and so please just keep in mind those footsteps on the roof might not be Santa!
Indeed, you best be prepared to sing and swing a candy cane, as there are no Hollywood endings in real zombie-killing life!! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Feature of Anna & The Apocalypse: Behind The Scenes featurette.
Official 'Anna and the Apocalypse' Trailer