‘Anna and the Apocalypse’ | Grimmfest Film Review

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 8, 2018 (Last updated: January 5, 2024)
Anna and the Apocalypse Review


Anna and the Apocalypse is one of the boldest genre blends in recent memory. An enormously crowd pleasing movie, it manages to entirely work in all of its genres. From zombie movie to coming of age tale, musical to Christmas film, every element is crafted with a great deal of care and the result is a whole stocking full of fun.

From the outside, this genre-blending can seem as though it went one step too far. Focussing on the film as a musical firstly, the numbers are nothing too special, but the singing and dancing itself show how multi-talented this cast is. One particular highly suggestive and innuendo-filled song about Santa Claus does stick out though.

It is the constant humour in Anna and the Apocalypse that helps in making the musical aspect of it work so well. The humour is akin to many other British high school based films you may have seen in that the characters’ chemistry always seems very natural. When you have a group of individuals like this one, the humour often comes easily and that is no different here.

As a Christmas film, it has the expected emotional family moments and they play out very effectively. This is in no small part due to the impressive performances from Ella Hunt (The More You Ignore Me) as Anna and Mark Benton (Career Girls) as her father. A standout in terms of performance, however, is Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones) as the headmaster, Mr Savage, who is hilariously devilish, eccentric and simply wonderful to watch have so much fun with this role.

The zombie story is the central focus of the whole film. It’s what drives the story forward with all the other hints of all the other genres acting as side elements. If Anna and the Apocalypse isn’t the most fun British zombie film since Shaun of the Dead, it comes very close. The more excitable zombie fighting scenes seamlessly mix in a whole dose of fun and laughs with the odd surprisingly touching moment and perhaps this is to be expected in a zombie comedy, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

That is the exact word to describe this film perfectly. Enjoyable. Immensely enjoyable!

Oddly feeling like one of the more mainstream films screened at Grimmfest 2018, it was the perfect way to end the festival with a bang like an excessively loud Christmas cracker.  Perhaps you’ll have to look past the zombies, but it is almost guaranteed to put a huge smile on the face of anyone who watches it, providing the pleasantly impressive practical effects don’t make you too squeamish.

Anna and the Apocalypse is a delightfully British, delightfully silly and delightfully action-packed film that will be getting a UK cinema release starting November 30. So do yourself a favour to get into the Christmas spirit once December hits, and go and see this zombie musical!

Check out our full Grimmfest 2018 coverage.

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