29th Jan2019

‘Anna and the Apocalypse’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye | Written by Alan McDonald, Ryan McHenry | Directed by John McPhail

anna-and-the-apocalypse-poster

A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven – at Christmas – forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.

Based on the 2011 short film Zombie Musical, Anna and the Apocalypse, directed by John McPhail, is a mash-up of the comedic inventive edit prowess of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and the engaging charisma of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. The result? An undoubtedly charismatic feature that unfortunately exudes a far sicklier intent with contradictory character threads and a disappointing narrative.

The performances as a collective are fresh and vibrant. Matching the themes of the plot in a perfectly jolly boisterous unison. The lead performance by Ella Hunt playing the titular character of Anna, in particular, puts forth an entertaining and energetic role full of life and charisma. Unsurprising considering Anna is the only character with depth and layers explored to an efficient standard of engagement for the audience to find reasoning to care. The supporting cast while sufficiently utilised offer little in terms of emotional magnitude or depth, thus when the horror begins to show and the inevitable occurs, you’re often left with benign audience connection to death or benefactor.

What is also slightly detrimental to the overall final product is the unneeded and often perplexing character arcs and trajectories that feel contradictory to both the story and themes of the film itself. Specific villainous characters are written in such an absolute manner only for the film to completely change the outline and contradict its own narrative and vice versa with those that play in heroic context. Ultimately denying the audience satisfaction and leaving a somewhat emptiness surrounding the conviction of a left-field play. This production decision doesn’t particularly work in plot twist context either, unfortunately foiling what is otherwise a convincing and visually impactful film with a deliciously vibrant edit from Mark Hermida.

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