Finally released on Blu-ray after a successful DVD run, horror/comedy/musical Anna and The Apocalypse is the perfect festive watch in the run-up to Christmas. The Blu-ray contains both the original version of the film and the much talked about extended version (available here for the first time). As I’ve seen the theatrical cut a couple of times, this review is based on the extended version. I’ll remain spoiler-free.
Not much happens in the sleepy town of Little Haven, Anna (Ella Hunt) is about to graduate secondary school which turns out to be the least of her problems when a sudden zombie apocalypse threatens to destroy the town and all its residents. Aided by her friends, the band of survivors must battle their way through the undead hordes, and sing their hearts out as if their lives depended on it. In an age of readily available digital effects, there is a wealth of highly effective (and occasionally shocking) practical effects on display. The zombie genre is one for all levels of filmmaking, Shaun of the Dead, micro-budgeted Colin to the blockbuster scale of World War Z. The genre shows no sign of stopping with recent offerings like Little Monsters, Zombieland 2, and The Dead Don’t Die.
Genre blending usually works best in twos, a horror-comedy, an action thriller, adding more things into the mix can yield unpredictable results. Anna’s zombie musical comedy (at Christmas) could have been too much, but happily, it all works to deliver a frequently funny, often gory, festive musical with plenty of catchy original songs. What more could you ask for at Christmas? A wide selection of special features including an insightful making-of documentary, that’s what!
The extended version includes about ten minutes of previously unseen footage, not much of it adds to the story, but this is a blood-soaked joyful world I am more than happy to spend a little more time in. To that end, the feature-length behind the scenes is a must-watch if you enjoyed the movie. As zombie juggernaut The Walking Dead shuffles into its tenth year, Anna and the Apocalypse offers something fresh and original, all wrapped up in a bloody Christmas bow.