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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Anna and the Apocalypse

As both a writer and at-large film critic, I have written in the past that I am not a fan of the straight horror genre at all, but “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a silly horror/zombie musical comedy.

I can respect what some filmmakers try to do, but when it comes to horror, such as Eli Roth’s “Hostel” entries, or any number of the ridiculous and forgettable “Saw” flicks, I just look at the cover art and say with a shrug, “not on my watch list.”

“Anna and the Apocalypse” is kind of a throwback to the slightly overrated “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” (1975), a story about a stranded recently married couple Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad, (Barry Bostwick) who meet Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania. Reason being, Frank is a scientist, who loves to do various things and tamper into oddities galore in his research, which includes just belting out ludicrous song and dance numbers along the way.

I admire that “Anna” was shot on location in Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK. It does not have that fake drama stage backdrop that I disliked in Rob Reiner’s “The Princess Bride” (1987).

With “Anna and the Apocalypse,” this tale is set in the not so sleepy town of Little Haven, a place in the middle of countryside England. An outbreak of sorts encapsulates the entire town and sends the entire community into a tailspin.

Anna deals with life and her plutonic best friend, John (Malcolm Cumming), who sometimes accompanies her on the music side of things.

Also thrown into the mix are Ella Hunt of the Oscar-winning “Les Misérables (2012), who has a lead all her own in the aforementioned.

There are a variety of denizens, including Sarah Swire’s Steph, who has the last running and operational car left in Little Haven. Also included are the dating couple of Nick (Ben Wiggins) and Lisa (Marli Siu), who always seem to be locking lips any chance they can get. Also along the ride are a group of various soccer hooligans who just enjoy taking out the undead in a frivolous manner (i.e.: running them over with shopping carts).

A surprising part of this production is to see the name of Orion pictures associated with this enjoyable tale. For those of us who grew up in the 1980s and later, they released Oliver Stone’s multiple Oscar-winner “Platoon” in 1986, followed by Kevin Costner’s “Dances With Wolves” in 1990. Lest we not forget Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” in 1991. It was the first movie since “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975 to make a clean sweep in the Oscar race.

Also fun to watch was the school’s despicable teacher, Savage, who likes the fact zombies are essentially thinning the herd as it were.

Honestly, I put this one in the “meh” category of recent viewing habits. It was fun for a brief spell, but to me it is not a return-to-watch-it-again movie, something I recently did with “Suspiria,” because I found that tale as intriguing as all get out.

If you want to just have a good and silly time at the movies, you could do no worse than catching “Anna and the Apocalypse.”

Grade: C+
(Review by Ricky Miller)

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