Linda Movie Review: ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
Anna and the Apocalypse review by Linda Ruiz
Zombies, violence and gore have never blended into a surprisingly funny musical comedy until Anna and the Apocalypse. The choreography and the songs are definitely Broadway worthy, reminiscent of “Spring Awakening” but surprisingly the film “High School Musical”, was the inspiration for “Anna and the Apocalypse”.
The story takes place in Scotland a couple of days before Christmas. Anna (Ella Hunt) is trying not to tell her father that she is going to take a year off before she heads to college; but her best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) inadvertently spills the beans as her father is driving them both to school.
This leads to a confrontation between Anna and her father, who also works at her school, and it will not be resolved before class starts. We are introduced to her group of friends as she makes her way into the building. For the most part they really aren’t movie cliché, but representative of today’s youth.
Steph (Sarah Swire, also the film choreographer) is the socially conscious lesbian, filmmaker Chris (Christopher Leveaux) and singer Lisa (Marli Siu) are the committed couple and Nick (Ben Wiggins), is Anna’s ex-boyfriend who wants Anna back. The opening song of the film begins here with “Break Away”. A touching number that expresses each of their fears and expectations after high school. Smoothly choreographed by Sarah Swire (Steph) and beautifully sung by the ensemble, you’re hooked.
The second number, “Hollywood Ending” is light hearted and cleverly worked in the scene, solidifying your attachment to these characters. They are real and you care about what’s troubling them. So far it’s the demented headmaster, appropriately named Mr. Savage (Paul Kaye) who is their biggest problem. He harasses and bullies his students at every opportunity.
However his number, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” was the show stopper for the audience. Hilarious, crazy and roll in your seat funny, it was everything! Paul Kaye practically steals the film with his perfect madness.
These just a few of the fantastic songs written by Roddy Hart and Tommy Riley. A smooth blend of pop, ballad and rock that has you singing along and dancing in your seat. The music blends perfectly with the script written by Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry.
McHenry who was nominated for the BAFTA Scotland New Talent Award in 2011 for the short film, “Zombie Musical”, from which “Anna “was conceived, died in 2015. His friends collaborated and together with director John McPhail created a solid musical comedy.
“ Anna and the Apocalypse” is also available in a book written by Katherine Turner with Barry Waldo based on the screenplay.
Normal teens, normal life problems, until the night of the Christmas Pageant when the zombie outbreak explodes. Don’t miss “Anna and the Apocalypse” playing nationwide in theaters December 7.