Zombies and Dancing but Not Dancing Zombies

‘Anna And The Apocalypse’ Needs a Remix

Anna and the Apocalypse is a film you want to root for both onscreen and off. Adapted from the short film Zombie Musical directed by the late Ryan McHenry (also of Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal fame),  the feature-length version of the genre mashup was McHenry’s passion project before he succumbed to cancer in 2015.

There’s a palpable feeling of determination throughout Anna’s runtime and an energy from the cast that surely would’ve made McHenry proud.

So you’ve got all the makings of a winner here. You’ve got zombies and original songs sung by enthusiastic young people. And, of course, you’ve got the magic of Christmas!

Directed by: John McPhail
Written by: Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry
Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire
Running time: 97 min.


Unfortunately, the film never lives up to the promise of integrated dance numbers revolving around undead action. Like some of the pop music it emulates with its ballads, here you have two disparate parts just mashed-up together for no discernible reason.

There’s a sequence in the first act of Anna that you’ve surely seen in trailers where singing and dancing is happening obliviously in front of zombie chaos. It’s a kinetic, invigorating shot in the arm to the zombie genre, but it lasts for only a few minutes. The rest of the film is instead just a Christmas-themed UK zombie comedy that stops its momentum for the musical hook.

This isn’t Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land. This is falling asleep on the couch late at night in 2012 on top of the remote and accidentally switching channels back-and-forth between Glee and American Horror Story.

If you have a Halloween hangover this Christmas season and need some blood and show tunes in the same package, you can’t go wrong here. Just don’t expect anything that revolutionizes or ends the world.

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Pablo Gallaga

Pablo Gallaga is a former video blogger and recapper for Television Without Pity (RIP). You can probably find him at an Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. He will thwart your alien invasion by uploading a rudimentary computer virus to your mothership using a 1996 Apple Powerbook and no Wi-Fi.

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