BASEMENT BLU-RAY REVIEW: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

To be honest, I was hesitant to watch the 2017 movie ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, based solely on the title. I mean, how good could a movie be with such a silly title? I am glad that I did give it a chance though as it is one of the most fun I have had watching a movie in awhile! It’s a simple plot, one we have seen done over and over. Surviving a zombie apocalypse. So what makes this film stand out? Pretty much everything.

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.

While researching Christmas movies, ANNA AND THE APOCALPSE came up again and again. All of the information I was seeing said this was a must-see movie. Even movie reviewer Roger Ebert, who normally gives horror movies bad reviews, liked and recommended it. That was good enough for me!

The zombie story here is comparable to both SHAUN OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIELAND. The pacing is excellent and you get emotionally involved with all of the characters, whether you love them or hate them. Making this a musical was a huge risk but it definitely adds to the movie, increasing the viewer’s enjoyment.

The special effects are top notch, most of which are done practically. The zombie makeups and zombie kills are comparable to any George Romero movie and there is enough blood for anyone looking for gore. The background visual effects are also really well done.

ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE features a great soundtrack, performed really well be the cast. My favorite scene of the film features Anna (Ella Hunt) and John (Malcolm Cumming) performing “Turning My Life Around.” Both character wake up to a brand new day, wanting to change the lives they’ve been living. Both characters, wearing earbuds, sing and dance as they head to meet in a cemetery, oblivious to what is going on around them. The song is very catchy. If you’re like me, you may be buying the ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE soundtrack!

The cast is fantastic. I have not seen any of these actors in any other films, but they do exceptional at their roles. They all take their roles seriously, despite the fact that this is a zombie musical. This is a very talented group and I think we will be seeing them often in the future.

As for the Blu-ray release itself, I want to talk about the US release, as I have not seen the UK version. The video quality is sharp and the audio is really good too. This is a must, especially for the songs. I found myself turning the volume up quite a bit while watching. Unfortunately, it is lacking in bonus features. There is a short “Behind the Scenes” feature, but all it does is manage to disappoint that there’s not more. With what went into this film, there needs to be a release featuring multiple behind the scenes documentaries. I want to see how the songs were created and recorded. I want to see the effects team sculpting and executing the zombie effects. Fingers crossed that Shout! Factory takes on this movie in the near future.

~David Albaugh

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