A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's not exactly smooth teamwork, but characters learn to work together in various ways. They face deadly odds to get back to their loved ones, though they don't always triumph. Empathy is also learned.
Positive Role Models
Teen characters are brave, kind, sometimes shown to be thinking about others, though they're flawed in realistic ways.
Violence & Scariness
Comical zombie violence, with graphic gore, blood sprays and blood stains, eating/spilling of entrails, decapitations, fighting, chasing, screaming, etc. Human characters are killed (bitten and turned into zombies). Smashing/stabbing zombies with toilet seats, baseball bats, bowling balls, spatula, chisel, etc. Woman hit in head with shoe. Woman dies of natural causes. Minor jump scares.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens kiss passionately. Talk of teens having sex. Strong innuendo (especially during a song). Sexy dancing during a song (shirtless boys play with candy canes in a phallic way).
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Several uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---ies," "ass," "pr--k," "hell," "d--k," "idiot"; reference to "the 'C' word."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anna and the Apocalypse is a Christmas-themed zombie musical that's almost certainly the first of its kind. Not surprisingly, it has graphic (but comical) zombie violence, including lots of blood and gore, eating/spilling of entrails, characters dying and becoming zombies, zombies being bashed with blunt objects and weapons, etc. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "p---y," and more. Teens kiss passionately (and sloppily), and teen sex is briefly but openly discussed. One character is in a same-sex relationship, but her girlfriend is never seen. There's also some eyebrow-raising sexual innuendo in certain scenes, most notably in a particular song. Consumerism and substance use aren't issues. The movie is uneven but ultimately creative and energetic, with touching emotional connections; teens looking for nonstandard holiday fare should enjoy it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Both its tone and its songs get a little melancholy as the movie goes along, but this frequently exuberant Christmas-zombie-musical is wonderfully creative, with a touching emotional center. Dreamed up by a handful of fresh-faced newcomers, Anna and the Apocalypse features several brand-new original tunes, the most delightful of which are doled out in the first half hour, although the cast's singing and dancing generally carry the later, sadder, darker ones through. (Only a vicious shriek-fest, sung by Kaye's villain, stops things dead for a time.) And while the zombie violence is mostly old hat, there are a few clever new slayings, especially those taking place in a bowling alley and one involving a seesaw.
Of the movie's three main thematic elements, Christmas is less present than the songs or the zombies (or at least less so than in something like The Nightmare Before Christmas). But holiday imagery is used in twisted, subversive ways, such as Anna's choice of a candy cane (with a sharp end point) as a weapon, a Christmas tree on fire, and a big prop star in the stage performance. An ugly holiday sweater is also a highlight. Aside from any gimmicks or genre-switching, though, what really comes through in Anna and the Apocalypse is a sense that the characters have genuine troubles, that they genuinely care for one another, and that death actually means something. Viewers may have expected to laugh and tap their toes, but they may be surprised at having been moved, too.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.