anna and the apocalypse review

Anna and the Apocalypse was one of the most delightful movies I saw in 2017 and now it will be one of the most delightful movies more people will get to see in 2018. The film, a Christmas musical set during the zombie apocalypse, has been picked up by Orion for a 2018 release and a certain breed of move fan will soon have a new holiday favorite to break out every December.

Orion, the late film distributor that was recently brought back from the dead by MGM, will release Anna and the Apocalypse in North America and Latin America, a win for genre fans in those regions looking for something fresh and weird and just plain fun. No exact release date has been specified, but the press release mentions the “2018 holiday season,” so look for it later this year.

Directed by John McPhail and written by Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry, Anna and the Apocalypse begins as a bubble gum-flavored high school musical before it introduces an undead threat. From that point, it exquisitely balances genres, delivering soapy teen drama, gory zombie action, and musical numbers that refuse to wink at the audience. Like Shaun of the Dead before it, this is a genre mash-up that takes itself seriously enough to sell the gravity and the horror of the situation, which makes the comedy and musical numbers all the more entertaining.

I was lucky enough to catch the film at Fantastic Fest last year and suggested in my review that it’s going to win over seasoned horror fans and those new to the genre alike:

Horror aficionados won’t be surprised by much of Anna and the Apocalypse. It hits the familiar beats, even introducing a human threat (a vice principal played with gusto by Paul Kaye) that suggests that the living are the real enemy in an undead end-of-the-world scenario. But I’m not convinced that horror aficionados are the intended audience here, even though plenty of them will have a great time. Anna and the Apocalypse is a very good movie, but it’s easy to imagine it directly connecting to the 14-year-old theater kids, the offbeat weirdos who like horror and musicals in equal measure, the kids looking for a genre movie that speaks (and sings) a language that they think they’re alone in speaking. It’s easy to appreciate Anna and the Apocalypse as a weird genre experiment. It’s easier to imagine a generation of younger, burgeoning genre enthusiasts embracing it as a new all-time favorite.

Look for Anna and the Apocalypse later this year if you happen to enjoy good things.

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