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Fantastia 2018: ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE Review

103 min

A musical about teens and zombies. Before you press the cringe button (whatever the hell that is), like I said there are zombies so that means blood and gore and f***** up ways that people die; all the wholesome things we nightstalkers love and expect from the festival. We were lucky to wield the Canadian premier tonight at the Fantasia 2018 experience.

Fresh from the United Kingdom, AATA follows high schooler Anna (Ella Hunt) who is conflicted. She's having boyfriend troubles and her father is super overbearing and overprotective. All Anna wants to do is travel.  Also it's Christmas. What's a blossoming young woman to do? And could things possibly get worse? How about a worldwide apocalypse to add to the list of angst.

This isn't your typical teenage drama flick, it's quite bizarre. While the undead are sinking their teeth into human flesh, and with bloody entrails flying left and right, these teenaged freaks are singing and dancing. Truly no respect for the dead.  

It's a good time passer with some twists on the genre. I hate to give it away but there's a scene that is a great selling point; before social media and the rest of the internet eventually stop functioning, the Anna crew and the audience are treated to something called 'apocalypse selfies', a twisted look at our modern world and the cringey way we behave. We would totally stop to take a selfie with a zombie wouldn't we.  

Another amazing moment was the cheery song Anna was obliviously singing, with the background of the world falling apart.

This movie might be called Anna and the Apocalypse but my favorite character was the friend Steph, played by the hilarious and talented Sarah Swire. Her reluctance to conform and her angry rebellious nature we're a more familiar perspective to those days. Plus she can exterminate these walking dead with the best of them. A true ass kicker and a shit taker from none.

Surprisingly, there were some deeply tragic and sad moments in this comedy. Even before the armageddon, we learn of Anna's mother's passing. And certain deaths steal the laughter right out of your lungs. An impressive display of mood manipulation. Bravo to director John Mcphail.

Finally, Paul Kaye's performance is brilliant and shines brightly in the third act. His singing voice sounded like a British Jafar (from Aladdin) as someone exclaimed in the audience. The makeup departmemt also gets a big nod because he was unrecognizable in that beard and thick glasses and mutton chops. The zombies also looked great.  

This year go for something fresh, something unusual. ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE because why not.


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