Anna and the Apocalypse can’t nail its novel Xmas-high-school-musical-zombie idea

It’s a high school film. It’s a Christmas film. It’s a zombie film. It’s a musical. Anna and the Apocalypse is all these things and it plays in cinemas nationwide just in time for the festive season.

It’ll click for some people but Daniel Rutledge was not one of them.

This zombie musical Christmas movie is comprised of many cool elements, but sadly, none of them are done very well. It bounces along with a charming energy that’s hard not to get swept up in at times, and I dig how weird it all is, but I wish its many shortcomings weren’t so glaring. It’s not funny enough, not bloody enough, and definitely not clever enough to really nail what it’s going for.

Some of the original song and dance routines feature impressive choreography, but the music often veers into eye-roll territory. While this isn’t the first zombie musical, there’s still a novelty factor–albeit short-lived.

When the zombies start eating people and chaos reigns, there’s a musical number following a main character leaving home and venturing through the streets while completely oblivious to the carnage going on around them. It’s undeniably similar to Shaun of the Dead, and nowhere near as good. For a film with a solid amount of originality, that was disappointing.

While it’s not trying to be a gore fest, it still would’ve been nice to see a bit more effort employed with the splatter. Around 90% of the zombies killed are dispatched with a blunt object that just means the actor jerks their head away and spits out blood when it’s swung at them. Meh.

The biggest problem, however, is bad humour. The whole movie would be a hell of a lot more enjoyable if more of the gags landed. If you want to see a Christmas movie this silly season that has blood and swearing in it, this will do the trick. I really wanted to like this and I’m sure it’ll click better for some viewers, but it elicited more cringes than laughs for me, unfortunately.