2017, Movies

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017, John McPhail)

This movie is a Christmas, Zombie Musical. Yes, you read that right, three genres in one.

This movie begins as a high school film set at Christmas, which morphs into a musical, which then adds zombies. Though Christmas is the earliest theme, I’m not sure it’s necessary to the film as a whole, as the Christmas feel sort of drifts in and out. (We get a random appearance of a Santa at a very odd time, for example, but otherwise it feels like Christmas is not much of a theme).

When the musical part takes off, I must say I felt old. Apparently the musical numbers in this film are more in line with High School Musical or what have you than the musicals I’m familiar with, because the songs have very little of that classic American musical feel. (I lack the musical knowledge to explain exactly what I mean, but what I mean is that these songs sound closer to contemporary pop songs than they do, say, Leonard Bernstein or Jerome Kern or Rogers and Hammerstein.) Moreover, the first song in particular seems very earnest and I got very worried that the songs in this Christmas zombie musical would not actually be funny. And they’re only sporadically funny, though they are occasionally quite funny. (And I will admit that I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics all the time so maybe I missed a line or two.)

The zombie stuff has mostly been done before. There are one or two set pieces or visual gags that feel fresh but, at this point, this is a tired genre and it’s pretty hard to make it feel fresh. Presumably that’s why this film has both a musical and a Christmas angle in addition to the zombie one.

But though I cringing though the first musical number I definitely disliked it less and less as it went along. For one thing, aside from the lead and the American girl, I had a hard time guessing who was going to make it to the end, which was a nice experience. And I definitely chuckled a few times. And I must say, I haven’t seen a Christmas zombie musical before.


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