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.
When the zombie apocalypse hits the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - teenager Anna and her high school friends have to fight, sing and dance to survive, with the undead horde all around them. Teaming up with her best friend John, Anna has to fight her way through zombified snowmen, Santas, elves and Christmas shoppers to get across town to the high school, where they'll be safe. But they soon discover that being a teenager is just as difficult as staying alive, even at the end of the world.
This was a movie that I missed catching it in the theater last year around this same time. I was kind of mad at myself, but this year, I was looking for a Christmas movie for the season and watched this with my girlfriend. I knew this was a musical, but those can be hit or miss for me. I had heard good things about it so I was intrigued. The synopsis is a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven at Christmas, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival.
We start this off in the car where Tony Shepherd (Mark Benton) is driving. His daughter is in the back, Anna, along with her best friend John (Malcolm Cumming). Through interactions it is revealed that Anna doesn't plan to go to college, but to travel for a year first. This upsets Tony and it is revealed that his wife and Anna's mother passed away so he's doing his best.
At school they meet up with Steph North (Sarah Swire). She is sad as her girlfriend won't spend Christmas with her and her parents moved to Mexico, leaving her there. She's convinced it is because of who she is. They're also friends with Chris Wise (Christopher Leveaux) who is into video production and his girlfriend is Lisa (Marli Siu) who is the lead in the upcoming Christmas play. It should also be pointed out that Anna's ex is Nick (Ben Wiggins) and he's a jerk. John also has a big crush on her.
Their lives are not made any easier by their teacher Arthur Savage (Paul Kaye). He takes the car keys away from Steph and he warns them that he will be headmaster soon. Their lives take an even worst turn though when they next morning their town is full of zombies. Anna and John meet up and head to where they work to find Steph and Chris. Their parents are at the school along with Lisa. They are hoping the military will help, but even they can't stop what is happening as it becomes a fight for survival.
Now I'll be honest with you, my relationship with musicals is love/hate. The ones that I love, I am all about and the ones that I don't I despise. With that said, this isn't a traditional musical and I dig that. We really do get a normal movie here with some musical numbers. I'm a fan of zombie films in general, so I can get behind this idea. I should also point out these are more in the vein of Romero zombies for sure.
Going from there, I do feel this is a mash-up of Harry Potter, Glee and Shaun of the Dead. I think the former just because of the school outfits they wear and it being set in the United Kingdom. Glee for obvious reasons and the similarities to Shaun are similar as well, this is a zom/com. I actually think this works though. We establish that Anna wants to do her own plan and John has a crush on her. Tony wants the best for his daughter, even if it goes against her plan. Steph is a character I took a lot of time trying to figure out and felt horrible for. She doesn't seem to necessarily fit in with her sexual orientation which is a shame, she's one of my favorite characters here. Then we also have the obnoxious couple with Chris and Lisa. I was curious for a bit if Steph was vibing him, but I think it is more she wants the relationship that he has which shows her envy.
I will say that the comedy aspects of this do hurt it a bit. I never really worry about the characters because of it. I will say there was something shocking that happened to some of the characters to the point that it does hurt the ending a bit. I know they humanize a certain character, but I don't like it. That did bother me slightly. This is still entertaining though and never found myself bored.
Next I want to move this to the soundtrack, as this is a musical. I'm not going to lie, I really dug some of the songs. I heard one of them when Duncan over at the Podcast Under the Stairs did a compilation and when that song played in the movie, I immediately added it to my Spotify list. Not all of the songs landed, but I didn't mind the combination of normal music to the musical numbers we get. Overall I thought this all worked.
I should move next to the effects. I've already said I liked that we get slow moving zombies. I think that works being that it is a musical so you get a bit of singing and dancing. The look of them was solid though and I dug that. There's one that is decapitated where the effect looked great. I know there was some CGI, especially with the blood. It didn't really bother me though if I'm going to be perfectly honest and I think that goes to the fantastical nature of the movie. I thought it was shot very well overall as well.
The last thing to cover would be the acting here. I was a big fan of Hunt. I thought she does well as the teen that doesn't know what she wants to do with life. Her father has a plan for her and he's stubborn for what happened to their family. I like that we needed this all to fall apart for her find herself. I feel bad for Cumming though. He really digs Anna, but he's been friend-zoned hard. What happens with him though made me call out as I felt bad. Swire I also thought was great. She is quirky and I just wanted good things to happen for her for what is established for the character. Wiggins I wasn't a fan of, but it is more his character than his performance. He invoked a reaction from me so I give him credit. I thought Leveaux, Siu, Benton, Kaye and the rest were all solid in support of what was needed here.
Now with that said, I really did fall into the camp that I enjoyed what we got here. This is a solid horror, comedy, musical for sure. I like that we get the characters' lives established and how the end of the world affects that. It also as they try to live through normal high school drama as well. The acting is good and I thought the effects were as well. The pacing is hurt a bit being that this part comedy and being a musical. I will say that I did like the soundtrack overall. I don't feel this is a great film, but I really did enjoy it. I would say this is a good movie still.
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