Anna and the Apocalypse: A Christmas zombie movie, with singing
Spoiler-free review: The undead, high school outcasts, the holidays, musical?! If you're tired of jolly holiday films, this one may be worth watching.
Marrian ZhouStaff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Anna and the Apocalypse is a Christmas musical featuring zombies and high school drama. Yes, you read that right. A movie about the undead, with song and dance. If that premise isn't weird to you, I don't know would be.
I couldn't help but tilt my head when I first saw the synopsis of the film, which hits theaters Friday. Is it like Krampus, or are they going to slay zombies with jazz hands? (If you haven't seen Krampus, it's a 2015 genuinely scary film about a horned beast that punishes naughty children during Christmas time.)
Anna and the Apocalypse, on the other hand, is rather cheesy.
The film, directed by John McPhail and written by Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry, sets the scene in a small town called Little Haven. As Christmas approaches, high school senior Anna and her friends are trying to sort out their own life problems when zombies overrun their neighborhood overnight.
Like many high school movies, this one has bullies, outcasts, supportive parents, a mean principal and, of course, romance. The main characters' feelings play out in dance numbers as the undead threaten their lives.
Although it's a musical, the film does drop subtle hints (like every zombie movie does), to foreshadow the existence of a deadly infection. And the use of Christmas decorations as weapons is quite innovative and festive. Gotta give them that.
Yes, it's full of cliches, but it also has a touch of heart.
As civilization falls apart and the high schoolers race to save their loved ones from the undead, they discover what's most important for them -- family, love and friendship.
I can understand that the creators want to bring a fresh twist to this gory genre, but the whole mashup just seems like a strange concept.
It was hard to watch actors burst out singing and dancing in the middle of a zombie crowd, but that's probably because I'm a horror film fan seeking suspense and thrills even on Christmas Eve.
As odd as it may be to say, the only surprise I enjoyed in the film was that people actually died. Since it's a Christmas movie, I thought it would have a happy ending. And boy was I wrong.
Don't worry, I won't tell you which character died. You can find out for yourselves when Anna and the Apocalypse comes out.