What can one do within the zombie sub-genre that hasn't already been done? Perhaps there isn't a lot of room for invention within zombie movies themselves. But what if you decided to go all La La Land about it and make a zombie musical? And just for good measure, have it take place on Christmas. That is what director John McPhail's Anna and the Apocalypse does and damned if it isn't purely delightful. It's official everyone; the first ever zombie Christmas musical is a blast.
In Blazing Griffen's movie Anna and the Apocalypse, Anna's life is typical enough. She is getting ready to leave school and wants to go exploring, but her dad just wants her to go to college and have a bright future. She has boy problems, and boys have problems with her. Though, all in all, she's just a normal high school girl living a relatively normal life. And then it all goes to hell. The night of the high school Christmas concert is usually a bright spot in her small town. But this year it marks the arrival of the undead. A struggle begins and Anna and her friends must band together to survive. And everyone just so happens to be singing and dancing about everything all the while.
This movie does little to try and invent within the confines of a zombie movie. There's no need to. The idea of making a zombie movie into a musical is the invention here. To that point, there is no chance in hell this kind of thing would work unless the songs were great. And they are great. Some truly stand a cut above the rest, and the less you know about them going into Anna and the Apocalypse the better, but they absolutely work. In many ways, this movie is a much better musical than it is a zombie movie. And that's coming from someone who doesn't particularly like musicals.
Even if you don't like musicals, I dare you to watch this movie and not be entertained. There are times in Anna and the Apocalypse that if you don't have a smile on your face, you may not be human. It also helps that everyone in the cast can sing and act in equal measure. The zombie movie and the musical that intersect here work in perfect harmony with one another for most of the movie. As is the case with many things, especially something that is playing with a bit of a gimmick, it can run out of steam in the third act. That certainly happens here, but not to the degree that it undercuts the overall great time to be had.
If Shaun of the Dead and a cheesy, made for TV Disney channel musical movie were put into a blender, it would be Anna and the Apocalypse. And I mean that in the best way possible. If you've been looking for a new, non-traditional Christmas movie (and some non-traditional Christmas music) to go with your annual viewing of Die Hard, this is it. Love it or hate it, and I suspect there will be a lot more love than hate, Anna and the Apocalypse feels like it is destined to become a cult classic.