Anna and the Apocalypse

Without a doubt, this is the best Christmas-zombie-horror-comedy-musical we have ever reviewed. If you're looking for a legit, lighthearted yet heartfelt romp, filled with catchy songs and great dance numbers, check out Wicked. Or you could watch this movie too. Wicked doesn't have nearly as many zombies.

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Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Episode 239, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

Craig: Hello and welcome to another Christmas time episode of two guys in a chainsaw. I’m Craig and I’m Todd, and we were looking at our big, huge long list of. Christmas movies, horror movies this week. And one stood out to me and I, this has been around for a few years. It came out in 2017. And I think initially I was kind of skeptical about it for reasons that I don’t remember, but I was reading about it again this year.

And it is a zombie horror comedy, Christmas musical. Yeah.

Todd: It’s got a little something for everybody

Craig: and I thought, you know what? We’ve never done a zombie horror comedy Christmas musical before. No, maybe we should give it a shot.

Todd: So after considering a theme month and then deciding we better do our first one and see how much we liked the theme.

Craig: I know we

Todd: just decided to go with this one, right?

I have

Craig: to say that 2017’s, Anna and the Apocalypse is probably the best zombie horror comedy, Christmas movie I’ve ever

Todd: seen. Yeah, me too.

Craig: It was good. I liked it.

Todd: Oh, you’ll just, we also liked it overall. It’s not just a, I, that sounded highly qualified when you first said it.

Craig: It’s true now. Honestly, I worry. That I might oversell this a little

Todd: cause cause you love musical so much.

Craig: I just, I do. I love horror movies. I love horror comedies. I love horror Christmas movies.

Um, and I, I really do love musicals. I mean, stereotypes be damned.

Todd: I’m a

Craig: musical theater kind of guy and this fits, it fits the bill,

Todd: but you’re not a zombie fan.

Craig: No, I’m really not. You know, there have been there. We have talked about a lot of zombie movies or at least a good handful. And overall, I’m not a huge fan.

It’s not my favorite sub. Category of the horror genre, but we’ve seen some that I’ve really liked. And one of the ones that I’ve really liked is zombie land, which is also a horror comedy. And this movie gets compared to that a lot, I think just because of the comedic part of it. They’re not really all that much alike, but.

I see the comparison, but I would say that this is kind of. A marriage between Nat and like high school musical. And I say that having never seen any of the high school, I’ve never seen any of the high school musical movies. What my, my impression of them is that they would be like this.

Todd: Well, I believe we are coming into this conversation and I am more familiar with high school musical than you are.

Kind of blows bed area.

Craig: I’ve never seen know. I’ve never seen him. I teach high school and I, I have been teaching high school for a long time. So, you know, I was. Around teenagers when those movies came out and they really liked them. And they talked about them and high schools around our area where we’re doing them on stage.

And like I knew it was a thing. I just, I, I never got into it. But anyway, so, and then the apocalypse, uh, 2017 movie written by a couple of guys, these names made me laugh because it was written by Alan MacDonald and Ryan McHenry. And it was directed by John McPhail and it’s, it’s set and filmed in Scotland, like with all these Mack and nicknames.

Uh, I thought that was kind of funny. Um, but no, it’s, it’s, uh, you know, as far as zombie movies go, it’s. Fairly typical, you know, a bunch of people, ordinary people, and then there’s a zombie outbreak. This one happens to focus on primarily a group of high school students, seniors, most of them, I think. And you know, in, in the beginning, everything’s just very normal.

Uh, I guess, I don’t know, I’m getting ahead of myself. So I didn’t know much about this. Did you know anything about it going in,

Todd: but, um, uh, somebody on our website did request this, so shit big shout out to Neil for requesting this as well. It just so happened that, uh, we chose this film about a week before he requested it.

So it’s really nice to be able to have the ESP. To be able to put something in the pipeline that’s right. And do a request like that.

Craig: We’re really in tune with our lists. We can predict what they’re going to request even before they request it.

Todd: Do a third time zone difference. You know, I’m, I’m kind of in the future over here when we talk.

No. I agree with you though. Um, I didn’t know anything about this movie. I hadn’t even heard of it to be honest with you, but, uh, that’s probably because I was in China when all this came out and it was only in 2017, right. And released in the U S like, uh, in 2018. And so it’s pretty fresh and pretty new. I was pretty excited to see though, even though I hadn’t heard of it, I was kind of excited about this whole concept and I will say.

Having seen the high school musical movie, the first one multiple times, I, it almost felt like high school musical at some points. Like the staging, of course it said in a high school, but the way that. The camera work is and the kind of the humor and the way the characters are a bit carefree, especially during their singing.

And honestly, the tunes are very much in the flavor of the high school musical tunes. At least for the first half of the movie, it’s almost. Without zombies. Anyway, the first third, I guess, of the movie or so before the zombies come on the scene, we get at least three songs and those are all, three of them are pretty much in the similar style to high school musical.

I wouldn’t say rip off because. I know a lot of musical songs do follow a similar, I don’t know what you call it, you know, like way, I mean, a lot of modern musicals anyway, you know, something that’s not Rogers and Hammerstein, uh, something that was made in the last couple decades, they do tend to have a certain feel or instrumentation.

I don’t really know what to, I can’t really put my finger on it, but I bet you could.

Craig: Oh gosh. Yeah. I studied musical theater in college, uh, and, and. Uh, I, you know, having been a fan of musicals, I was actually kind of shocked to see that they do follow pretty rigid formulas really. And the, the songs here, you know, I could very easily identify, Oh, here’s the hero song?

Oh, here’s the I’m

Todd: lonely

Craig: under appreciated and, and, you know, want more out of my life song. Like it is formulaic in that way, but not. In a bad way, just in that’s how musicals roll. And I have to say that the thing that I was most pleasantly surprised about this movie was. That it is a legit musical. Now, when I read that it was a horror musical, I thought, Oh, okay, well the, you know, the high school band or, you know, there’ll be a band at the dance that sing some songs or something, you know, like there there’ll be music in it.

No, this is a legit musical. Like there are straight up huge performance numbers there, and there are, you know, more quiet. Introspective numbers, but songs galore like every five. Maybe 10 minutes, another song from beginning to end. It never relents. And I wouldn’t say that it’s, you know, some sort of masterpiece of musical theater, but totally competent.

Like the songs are great. Good. And they further the story and they are fun to listen to like, I might download this soundtrack and listen to it in the car. Yeah, I have to say I was impressed.

Todd: The lyrics are good. They’re funny. They get a little cliche at times. I mean a lot cliche at times, some of the lines in there, but.

They’re funny. There’s one in particular, there were at least there’s one really odd one called the fish wrap, which is two penguins in the play that actually comes up a couple times in the movie where they’re singing about fish. And that

Craig: was weird

Todd: and hilarious.

Craig: My favorite dish is fresh mothered Flippa and I eat it for the hell of it.

A nice bit of algebra. That’s not the only fish they got macro. I could take all that into stack salmon. I could drink it by the tempo

Todd: and uh, I think was it it’s that time of year when the one girl is in the musical, in the school singing? About Santa it’s like, like Santa baby song, but it’s super crass.

Craig: Oh my God. It was hilarious. And when we get to it, uh, that’s the thing, as I was listening to the, or as I was watching the movie, I kept thinking, Oh, Todd’s got to put a clip of this in because we’re never going to be able to.

Explain it, yeah, because it’s a song. And then at one point I was like, well, he can’t just put in the whole soundtrack

as much as I want you to. It would take up the whole podcasts

Todd: and we get flagged on YouTube for copyright violation.

Craig: It really is fun. It’s fun music. The story is engaging. And the other thing that I really liked about this and really, really surprised me is that I thought they do. Excellent job of characterization.

I did not expect at all to care about any of these characters. I thought this was going to be a stupid, silly, you know, zombie movie, especially with the added element of the musical. I expected it to be really cheesy and corny. I didn’t expect to care and I cried. Yeah, we’re the ones.

Todd: I can’t say I cried, but I could see how you would and how maybe I in a different frame of mind would have as well.

I’m a bit of a softy as well when it comes to this stuff. I mean, I agree with you. The characterization was very good, but for me it was all still very, uh, it’s hard for me to take a musical. No, I shouldn’t say that. It’s easy for me to take a musical. Seriously. I don’t know what it was about this. That maybe it’s just because it’s so high concept.

I mean, zombie’s musical, it’s very detached from reality. Musicals are already detached from reality. Zombie movies were already detached from reality. So it’s like two extra layers of that. So it, it got hard for me anyway, to really get into the characters because I was always aware I was watching, uh, Really silly, goofy mashup kind of movie.

I appreciated the character arcs and I appreciated the moments that I thought they were well handled once when somebody would die. And almost everybody dies.

Craig: Spoiler alert.

Todd: That was a, that was a shock to me as well. I couldn’t believe it. Even at the end, it almost seemed like maybe they were. They throw a line or two.

And at the end that made it seem like a sequel might have been in their minds. But I don’t know. I mean, it’s just going to be two people

Craig: you think,

Todd: cause almost everyone else is dead. So it does pick people off. It’s very into the woods that way. Isn’t it.

Craig: Yeah. And, and it did surprise me, but ultimately, you know, I thought that it was in good service to the storytelling, as sad as I was to see some of these characters go.

And I really was sad to see some of them go more so than I expected to be. But, uh, it, I don’t know. It got me. Anyway, getting into the movie, it opens up with this fun poppy Christmas song. That’s like something like Christmas means nothing without you or something. And it’s just a fun, upbeat Mariah Carey type, pop song, fun, and our main character, Anna and her best friend, John.

And I’m not going to bother with the actors names because they’re all kind of up and coming, plus they’re not American, I’m not familiar with them. So I can’t say anything that they’ve been in. I don’t know, but all talented, young, fresh actors. Yeah. But you’ve got Anna, who’s a teenage girl and her best friend, John, and they’re being driven to school by her dad.

Yeah. And it comes out accidentally. That she has decided that she’s going to put off, going to university for at least a year to travel. And, um, her dad is upset about that. And we find out that her mother has passed away and the dad makes a comment, like, what would your mother think of this or something?

And, you know, obviously kind of upsets her, but she’s. Determined John, I lied. I’m going to say his name. He was played by a kid named Malcolm coming. And the reason that I mentioned that it’s just because I found him to be so charming. And I think that part of the reason was because I identified so much with him.

He was this, he, he’s not a bad looking kid. In fact, I thought he was a very good looking young man, but not the typical. Jock sexy kind of guy that teenage girls are typically into, but he’s clearly pining for his best friend. And that was the position that I found myself in, in high school all the time. I had great.

Girl friends who I was secretly desperately in love with, but interested at all.

And, and at some point, yeah, in the movie, Anna gives John the, your, my best friend talk and I got that talk. Two or three times

Todd: high school.

Craig: So I felt for this kid, he’s cute. He’s funny. He’s a little bit dorky, but he’s a nice guy anyway. Um, and then we meet some other people there. Steph Steph has a cute pixie blonde haircut.

And I suspected from the beginning that she was a lesbian, which it turns out she is, but is totally inconsequential to the block. And there’s the headmaster of the school. Mr. Savage. Who’s a creepy power. Drunk guy. Yeah,

Todd: super creepy. Who would ever put this guy in a position? What school board elevated this man and to where he is now?

Craig: Mine.

Sorry. I’m

Todd: touching on there, but that’s

Craig: another story.

And it leads up to the opening song, which is the. The best I can describe it is the, the opening song in beauty and the beast, the bell song, like, yeah. Oh, I live in this little humdrum drum town and I have these big dreams. Um, but it’s a big group number and they all sing Ana. Steph and John all sing and like the lyrics are like trapped in the moment.

Ready to fly? Yeah.

Todd: A little cheesy. I thought it was a little cheesy, but I always get, I mean, it’s a musical, so it’s going to be cheesy.

Craig: Exactly. Exactly. Musicals are a little cheesy, but. I, you know, it was formulaic, it fits it. This is the opening number of a musical like this. Yeah. The, the it’s time to break away.

Uh, yeah, it’s cute. Then we meet Chris. Chris is a budding filmmaker, kind of a nerd. Um, We meet Lisa. Lisa is the school ingenue. Um, she’s going to be performing in the Christmas show that night we meet Nick. Nick is the good looking asshole, you know, very stereotypical. We find out that. I have in my notes used to date Anna, but I don’t really think that’s true.

I think they just kind of hooked up once. Yeah. Lisa and Chris are a couple. And then, I mean, I swear, we’re talking minutes between we have the next song, which this is the one that reminded me the most of high school musical. They perform it in the cafeteria. And it’s called no such thing as a Hollywood ending and they all sing.

You know, John is pining for Anna there’s, you know, a whole huge choreographed dance with all of the kids in the cafeteria. I just

don’t want to stop them. Just want to have some fun.

all of the characters sing about their situations and all of them seem to be longing for something. The only ones. Who are happy in the moment or Lisa and Chris, because they’re so with love in high school. So high school musical did it literally ends with all of them standing with their fists in the air,

Todd: you know, coming from a guy who hasn’t actually seen high school musical.

The fact that you still know that this is exactly how high school musical is. Kind of proves a point.

Craig: I mean, I I’ve S I’ve seen clips of it. I’ve just never actually sat and watched it at this point. Anna’s walking through the parking lot and she bumps into a zombie, but she doesn’t notice

Todd: there’s a little bit of this, a very, very little bit of this that we got in.

Shaun of the dead where it’s happening in the background, but also they’re playing with you a little bit. Like there’s a moment where Anna stops in the hallway and you hear this, which sounds a little bit like a zombie or monster or something behind her. And when she turns around, there’s a woman, a girl with an inhaler.

You know, there are these gotcha moments, just like Shaun of the dead, where you’re waiting, you’re waiting, you’re waiting for that moment when the first zombie comes in. Uh, and then it does, they do come in, in a big musical number later.

Craig: I actually thought that was very clever. I mean, it’s silly, but super clever.

Cause I was expecting her to turn around and see a zombie or something, but no, it is a girl with an inhaler. It was. It was funny. Anna works in a bowling alley that’s established, and then we see the Christmas. Pageant going on. And that’s when the penguin dance comes in weird. And the song, the song is called plenty of fish in the sea.

And it’s all about how penguins enjoy eating fish. The kids it’s just. Two kids, these big penguin outfits doing this choreographed number. Oh my God. But it was so funny. And then Lisa sings her song, which is like you said, kind of a Santa baby kind of song, or, um, I was kind of getting vibes of that scene in mean girls where they do the sexy, uh, Santa dance, but it’s full of a new window.

And warmed your milk and made your favorite snack. So come on over and unload your SAC. Um, cause you, maybe I know I don’t make you smile.

And then she has. These hot, mostly naked Santas. Like they’re just in like these little like red hot pants and suspenders and Santa hats dancing, but behind her, and while it’s very suggestive, it’s also really cute. Like I would die. Like if I were sitting in an audience and some girl came out and did this song, I would die and I would stand up and cheer at the end of it.

It was so funny. Uh, we see that there is homies outside the school. This is all it’s kind of a slow buildup.

Todd: It’s really slow. Actually. It is the story doesn’t feel slow, but this could just be another high school movie up about 30 minutes in 35, 40 minutes. And then, yeah, it’s, we’re really just establishing character in situation here.

Craig: They subtly remind you, you know, there are going to be zombies, just hold on a minute.

Todd: Yeah.

Craig: And, and then Anna and John get off work their shifts at the bowling alley. And there’s a funny scene there, but they ended up in this park and they make snow angels together and it’s very sweet and it’s so obvious that he’s into her and that she’s. What I wanted to happen was for them to go through this experience and for her to realize what a great guy he was and that they should be together.

And it doesn’t, you know what I mean? Sometimes friendships are just platonic, even if one of you wants it to be more. And that’s what it ends up being here, but he’s just such a sweet guy. And I. I was rooting for him. But anyway, my, I think my very favorite part of the movie is they go home and they go to bed and they wake up the next morning.

And both of them, both John and Anna decide it’s a new day and I’m going to be happy and it’s going to be a great day. And they both go out and they put in their earbuds and they do this. Big dancing down the street number and they are completely oblivious to the complete may hem that is going on all around them.

Buildings are burning. People are jumping out of windows. Zombies are attacking everywhere and they’re completely oblivious. And they sing this up, beat fun song about how it’s going to be a great day in a new start to there new lives, how they’re miles

Todd: away. They say that several and I’m miles away. I’m like, yeah, you guys are miles away.

Craig: it was so funny and there there’s, it’s so cute. And like John had. Said earlier that he was going to start running to school so he could get more fit. So he could like travel the world with her or something. And so he’s jogging to school and they ended up meeting, like coming together in the graveyard and they dance together and

so funny. And then they finished

Todd: their song. And a snowman

Craig: snowman,

Todd: the snowman suit, just stumbles towards him and plants himself face down

Craig: over. She’s like, sir, I am a first aid attendant. I can help you. She, she turns him over and his face is all bloody and gross and knees Groundling and nasty. And these are by the way.

Traditional slow moving zombies. These aren’t a 28 days later, fast moving zombies. And so they can just basically kind of back away and, and express their confusion and shock. And they back into the same park where they had been. The night before and she uses a piece of playground equipment. I couldn’t really tell what it was.

It kind of looked like a CSR or something, but it’s like, it’s on a spring or something. And she, she pulls it back and has John lure the zombie towards them. And when she releases it, it snaps up and not. Knocks the zombies whole head off and blood is scoring out of the stuff on his neck, all over them and they’re screaming.

And then it just shows them sitting together, like what is going on? And he’s like, there’s zombies. And she’s like, that’s stupid. There’s no such thing as zombies. And he points. He’s like, yeah, cause that’s totally normal. And the zombie head is still alive and like growling and snarling. It is also a comedy and it is very funny.

I mean, I was laughing throughout it’s. It’s good.

Todd: Yeah. And I was wondering up until this point, if this was going to be a world where people knew about zombies, you know, it going to be. One of those things where they use the word zombie and they do, it’s also very established without anybody figuring it out.

They know that if some, one of them gets bit.

Craig: Yeah. And like in a lot of these movies, there’s really no explanation for why this is happening.

Todd: There’s talk about. And actually that was a little creepy, right? There’s a little talk about how that some parts of town I think are under a little bit of lockdown because the flu virus this year has been a little more harsh than normal.

Uh, and that comes over the radio early on, and one of the very first stage and they’re driving in the car and she shuts the radio off just as the announcer is about to say Rihanna mate. So I guess the only implication here is that it’s just some kind of mutated version of the flu.

Craig: Oh, I know. And that was really weird to hear like it’s in the very first scene when they’re in the car.

We categorize the pandemic first thought to be a super virus strain of the flu. It has now been determined to be a lethal packaging, seemingly capable. Oh, great. This is exactly what I need.

Todd: Yeah. I don’t know if it would turn your life into a musical though. I mean, there’s a, there’s an upside to everything I suppose.

Craig: For you. Um, most of the people are, are holed up in the school because I guess after the, uh, pageant, they realized that there was B, so most people have spent the night there, but Chris and Steph, Chris is the filmmaker. Steph is the cute blonde. Um, They had been off shooting, like a think piece about the homeless, uh, in their town, but we find them hiding in the bowling alley and, and John and Anna go there too.

Because they, they need Wi-Fi. They want to see what’s going on the phone phones aren’t working, but they think maybe the internet is so they go there too. They watch the news online and they see that. Yes, in fact, this is going on, but they hear that most, they hear that most people are holed up in the school and that the military is going to be sending in rescue mission.

So they just hang out there. And there’s a funny scene where the two boys, John and Chris are like, Hanging out in the ball pit and they’re talking about celebrities and which celebrities are probably zombies. They like, uh, what about like Ryan Gosling? And John’s like, doesn’t matter that dude’s cool, whether he’s alive or dead.

And then Chris goes, what about Taylor Swift? And John goes. Why would you say that K is fine? Don’t say,

okay. Oh, I thought it was funny. Then there’s a zombie attack. The cleaning lady who had been there the night before is a zombie and attacks the girls in the bathroom and stuff like smashes her head, the toilet seat. And this is a gory movie. I wouldn’t say it’s scary. I, I didn’t think it was scary at all, but not appropriate for children because it is.

Very violent and very gory. Well

Todd: that said. There’s a lot of Gore and blood, but there isn’t a lot of very gory. Uh, what, what should I say affects like, as far as seeing something being driven through somebody’s skull or seeing that moment where that head gets cut off, a lot of this violence, a surprising amount of it happens off screen or just outside of the frame, or we see from the back.

You know, what’s happening in the front. I thought that was odd considering how much blood and Gore is being thrown around. And, you know, there’s, there’s moments. The, like when they get attacked in the bowling alley, there’s all kinds of funny stuff like where the zombies ends up, sliding down the bowling alley, uh, and gets his head cut off by the.

Piece of the machine that comes down to sweep the pins away. And then the head ends up in the ball return. There’s a lot of goofy stuff like that. That, uh, even though for example, that scene, you don’t actually see his head getting cut off.

Craig: I get what you’re saying. You’re right. It’s it’s not as in your face as.

Like Romero stuff, for example. But like in that same scene, John takes two bowling balls and smashes zombie’s head between them. And you see all of that. You see the head get smashed in the blood spray out and it’s practical effect and it looks good. I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily say it looks real, but it looks as real as a practical effect can look, uh, it’s funny.

Cause he does it. Then he pukes. Because it was so

Todd: gross

Craig: this scene, you know, there’s these four kids, I guess, in there at this point and they’re fighting, I don’t know, a whole bowling team of zombies and it’s good fight choreography, like totally competent. I was really impressed that the director of this movie had directed, I think one feature league.

Filmed before. And he had done, um, several shorts, but you know, he’s a relatively new director and for a relatively new director, I thought that this shows a lot of promise.

Todd: Yeah. I completely agree. Uh, what I was going to say, going back to what you’d said earlier about it not being that scary. I think one of my main beefs of the film.

Is that the zombie action is so sporadic and it just utterly stops when it needs to, whenever the kids need to get together and have a moment or sing a song. There’s all the time in the world and no zombies in sight. And even when they’re outside and, uh, you know, with a lot of zombie movies, usually it’s like, you’re, you’re dealing with this really pressing ho hoard, you know, this real issue, like everybody’s holed up in a shopping mall or everybody’s holed up in the house, just a relentless hoard and it’s constant running and trying to get away

Craig: here.

Todd: It felt like the zombies were pretty spread out, you know, like they’re in the bowling alley and once they fend off the. Dozen or so zombies that happened to break into the bowling alley. They’ve got plenty of time now to just sit around and wait and look things up on the computer and then sing the song, which I thought was the one of the weakest as a song.

It was good, but fitting in with the plot, it almost didn’t make sense. A song called human voice, where they’re sitting there talking about how they need a human voice. And it seems to be talking about how technology keeps people apart or whatever, but none of them are isolated. They’ve they’re all in groups together.

The parents are holed up in the school. Um, these group guys are holed up in the bowling alley, so it seemed a little premature. In the plot for them to be sitting around singing about an isolation that they’re not having.

Craig: Well, if it’s true that they’re not isolated, but they are separated from their loved ones.

Um, and, and that was one of the things that I liked in this song. And his dad is the janitor at the high school, and we’ve seen him bef you know, and, and they’ve interacted, but we see him in this song. Laying down on a cot or something at school. Cause it’s nighttime at this point and there’s, you know, destruction and death everywhere.

And he’s just laying on this cot, looking at a picture of her on his phone and he’s crying and he sings too briefly in that moment. Um, so Anna and her dad are separated. Chris is separated from his girlfriend, Lisa, and also he has this very elderly. Uh, grandma who is with Lisa at the school because she had been at the pageant or, or whatever.

So he, yes, they are. Together with people, but they are also still worried about the people that they love. And I, and that’s kind of the driving force of the movie because that’s, you know, Anna and Chris especially are trying desperately to get back to the school because they want to be reunited with the people that they’re worried about.

And, you know, it’s a silly zombie movie, but at the same time, there’s a little bit of emotional impact there. When I saw the dad. Laying down and looking at a picture of his daughter on his phone and crying like that. That’s not one of the parts where I cried, but it tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.

Todd: Yeah.

Craig: Yeah.

Todd: Well, you know, it’s a kind of vulnerability that you don’t often see in a character like this, right? He’s a widower and he’s. Seems to be doing all right, but a bit broken by it. And clearly, very much loves his daughter. And, uh, is also, I, he was kind of, even though we didn’t actually see much of him in the movie, he did have quite a role to play.

Ah, and you know, just again, a Testament to the writing, you really felt like you still pretty well knew the guy and what he was going through. You know, they’re just these quick little scenes where the, the principal at the school is. Basically putting them down as just a janitor and he still weekly kind of handles that, but you can see it hurts him.

And, uh, you know, I mean, it’s really, it’s really interesting. This actor is one of the most decorated and the whole movie production. I think he’s been in hundreds of things, I think mostly over in Britain, but TV series out the wazoo and bit parts and all kinds of movies for decades. Uh, so if he looks a little familiar to you.

Yeah. Uh, he, he reminded me actually the father in gremlins. Um, I still think that song though, if it had been about family separation, you know, that’s one thing, but this whole song was about being separated by technology and it just didn’t quite fit. I thought it was shoehorned in a little bit. It seemed like somebody wrote a song that, yeah.

That kind of fit there. So they put it in, it was the only song that I felt was that way in the whole movie, honestly. Yeah.

Craig: Yeah. I agree. I think it was probably the weakest of them all, but even being the weakest of them all, it didn’t really bother me, but no, I totally agree with you. I just want to throw in a little something here.

You talked about how. The a headmaster is really derogatory towards the custodian. Now, my experience is limited because though I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years, I’ve been teaching in the same district for almost 20 years. So I can’t say, um, what things are like everywhere, but that’s not the culture.

Of my school in my school, everybody recognizes that we would be completely lost without the custodial staff. The custodial staff is. An integral part of our runnings. So, uh, it, it just, it, it didn’t surprise me because I think stereotypically, you know, that’s kind of a typical people look down on. You know, custodial workers or whatever, but in real life, we exalt those people because we know that we could not do it without them.

So custodial workers out there mad props. See you.

Yeah. Anyway, just wanted to throw that in. Um, when they wake up in the morning, they all sleep in the ball pit under the balls, which I thought was hilarious. And then they all wake up and come up out of the ball pit and. They look outside and the army has arrived, but they’re all zombies now, too. So they know that there’s no rescue coming, but they still need to get to the school.

And so they don’t know how they’re going to get through the horde, the small hoard, as you’ve said. So they thought this was so funny. The ball pit is actually just a somewhat large. Children’s um, inflatable swimming pool. So they just dump all of the balls out of it and hold it over their heads. So it’s just like their legs sticking out from under this pool.

And anytime they see zombies, they just squat down. So the pool is like covering them. So this is obvious. Can’t see them, which I thought was so funny. And at one point somebody peeks out and they’re like, Oh my gosh, it’s a whole bunch of old people. And so they’re sitting under there. And an old lady, zombie sits on steps head and she looks so annoyed.

She’s the cynic of the group. Anyway, and this old lady sits on her head and then you hear, and she’s like, is she pissed? Oh, it’s plastic, more plastic.

And then Nick, the sexy, bad guy. And his friends show up.

Todd: He’s like the Negro of the group.

Craig: Well, yeah, I don’t watch that show either, but right, exactly. Uh, even down to the baseball bat, no barbed wire around it, but with the baseball bat and he sings a song. About fighting zombies and the lyrics, like when it comes to killing zombies, I’m the top of my class.

And the chorus is like, I’m a soldier at war and there’s this whole scene of him and his friends just gleefully killing zombies. It’s silly and stupid, but it’s. Kind of funny and at the same time it makes you realize, and this is not unique. I’ve seen it in other movies. These zombies definitely are a threat.

If they can get ahold of you, especially if a group of them can get ahold of you, but so long as you just kind of stay away from them. Well, they, they’re not going to run and chase you. Like, you just kind of have to keep away from them. And if you want to be aggressive and fight them, mean they’re slow moving.

So you just go up to them and hit them over the head with a baseball bat and they’re down. Then we cut back to the school and the penguins are eating.

The last we see of the penguins, I wish they had just kept popping up because they’re so funny. Oh, but the people at the school are planning to leave, but Savage, the headmaster is losing it and is trying to convince them to stay. And that’s when Anna gives John that you’re my best friend talk and I felt bad for him.

And then the teenagers now joined by Nick and his friend end up at, like, I couldn’t tell if it was like a mall or if it was just like an indoor Christmas tree. See, that was weird or something.

Todd: Now, it was like an, uh, an outdoor shopping mall that obviously nobody was there and there was some kind of very large, apparently Christmas tree warehouse, Emporium, or whatever that they decided to go through.

So it’s like, they’re going through a forest inside and sneaking through, and then they don’t get very far before there’s zombies pop-out and get half of them. It gets all of Nick’s friends. Yeah. Uh, and then I think, yeah. Coming up as the same, that probably made you cry first.

Craig: Oh, okay. You’re right. It totally is.

I had in my notes that Chris almost loses his phone and he explains to Steph that the reason that he was so determined to keep it as, because it has all of his pictures and videos of his friends and family, and she says, They’re alive and he says, no, they’re not in, you know it. And you know that your family is not alive either.

And it’s just kind of a sad moment, but they do get out. And John and Anna are having a cute, cute moment, but it ends with John spreading his hands out like Tata and from around a corner, zombie grabs his hand and bites him. And I was so sad. I loved that kid. He was my favorite care to her. They know, of course that that’s it.

Todd: Yeah. But that was a weakness of the staging of this movie is, you know, it’s like they get through this Emporium and they be set by zombies and they get away and then they close the door behind them and suddenly they’re fine, but there’s a whole hallway or something out in front of them and they have their moment.

And as he spreads his arm out, A zombie just pops out of nowhere around the corner and bites his arm. Then they sit down and they have a moment like where, like there’s more zombies coming towards them, but they kind of don’t notice them and their friends come by and then suddenly the zombies are there.

And this was how a lot of the action was, you know, it was like, Zombies zombies zombies, then inexplicably, we’re safe for a while. We’d not even paying attention to anything. And then we have these moments and then okay. Zombies again, you know, it, it wasn’t very realistic.

Craig: Yeah. I see what you’re saying. The way that I read it was that they were both.

So. Shocked and taken aback and dealing with the revelation of what this means that they just kind of became invisible. Well, maybe it kind of became a blur Olivia’s for just a second. Like it’s like they sit there for a half an hour, like it’s just a second where they’re looking at each other and they both know what it means.

And. Then the zombies, you know, it’s a whole group of them kind of surrounding them coming up. And it looks like, even though Anna’s got this big candy cane that she’s using to kill zombies, which is kinda awesome, even though she’s got that, they’re approaching them so quickly and it’s such a short distance that it seems like they’re doomed, but in the last minute, John, who is a big guy, A tall guy taller than me.

He grabs her and kind of in cases, her in her arms. And he turns his back to the zombie hoard and backs through it so that they can’t get ahold of her. And once he has gotten kind of through it, he whips around and pushes her away. And then the zombies just take him down and are eating him. And you hear him screaming and, yeah, I don’t know.

It’s not like I was weeping, but my. Eyes were definitely glistening.

It was sweet and sad and, and Anna freaks out and, you know, I don’t know, like it, it, it, to bring her back Steph kind of shakes her and says your dad’s waiting for you. And it works, you know, she kind of, you know, she snaps out of it and then she leads the pack fighting through this zombie hoard with her big candy cane.

Uh, and so they do, they get back to school, but they only find headmaster Savage there. And he says to them, very ominously, you’ll be wanting to see your parents. You’re very lucky because they almost left and I’m like, Oh no. What I expected to have happened here was for him to have. Released the zombies onto their families.

I thought, Oh my gosh, this is going to get really dark really fast. When they walk into a room and find all of their family members turned into zombies, and I thought that’s what was happening because they do walk into the place where everybody had been. And there are a bunch of zombies in there, but as it turns out, it’s not all of their families.

What Savage had done is to prevent them from leaving. He had opened the doors and let the zombies in. So everybody had to run away. So everybody’s split up now and he leads the kids back to this room and then locks them in with the zombies and sings his crazy villain song, which is also kind of stupid.

But formulaic, you know, it’s the villain song. Ha nothing’s gonna stop me now. Blah, blah, blah,

Todd: whatever. From what? I’m not sure. I mean, I guess he’s just going crazy.

Craig: And his character is dumb. I mean, he, he even looks dumb. He’s, he’s got like crazy hair and a crazy beard that looks like they glued it on all my life.

They told me I would never succeed. They don’t control me. Maybe follow that lead. I say sold me for too long, but now

nothing’s got us.

It took me time to close up by now, but I never led you to go. No, Kristen Steph find Lisa, which is nice, but Chris’s grandmother had died because she had a bad heart. Not because she had gotten attacked by design bees and that’s kind of a sweet little moment. Then this part of the movie, God, this is the only part of the movie I’m mad about.

And not because it’s badly done, but because I just didn’t like the story element of it that Anna and Nick, who’s just a prick like, and everybody says that throughout. And it bothered me throughout the movie that Nick was a total Dick to John all the time. And Anna never said anything about it. Like if he really is your very best friend, like maybe don’t let your.

Hunky jerky, hookup guy. Belittle him all the time that bothered. Yeah. Nick have a heart to heart and it turns out that Nick really isn’t, you know, a sensitive person too. And, um, she’s like, what did you ever do for anybody that wasn’t just for yourself? And he’s like, well, I had to kill my dad. Cause he got bit and he begged me to kill him.

So I did. Okay. And then he’s also selfless because the zombies come and he pushes Anna away and takes them on, on his own. And it cuts away, you know, from him. He kind of starts to sing his zombie killing song again. And I could tell. You know that the movie was trying to make it look like he was sacrificing himself.

But I also knew that because we didn’t see him die on screen, that he would. Yeah.

Todd: It’s all predictable.

Craig: I know. And then, you know, a bunch of stuff happens, but Steph and Chris and Lisa have to try to get her car keys out of the way. Headmaster’s office and Steph makes it in there, but then the zombies hear her.

And so Chris and Lisa tried to create a diversion. And what they do is they put on his videotape of all of their, you know, friendly, good times before all of this happens on the TV to distract the zombies, which works, but then the zombies see them or hear them or something. And both Chris and Lisa get bit.

And I just didn’t expect it. I expected it. Uh, frankly, I kind of expected all of the kids to make it. I just thought it would be that kind of movie, Chris and Lisa get bit, and they embrace knowing what’s going to happen. And Chris waves goodbye to Steph and she waves goodbye and just walks away. And as silly as this movie is in these moments, It’s actually really sweet.

Like, I don’t know, maybe you disagree. Maybe you find it to be over the top, but I found these actually to be really kind of human sweet, sad moment.

Todd: Um, yeah, I think everybody had their moment and I guess that’s very musical, isn’t it. Every character is going to have their song and we’ve all got to kind of stop and take time to.

To take it in before we leave them. And so, you know, that was kind of what was happening here too. And maybe just because it was so formulaic like that I was a little more detached from it, but I will say it was very well done. It didn’t come across as corny and cheesy or bad. They looked like a couple that were embracing their fate as zombies.

And then there’s a moment later where we see that. Room and peep, zombie are still, are still shuffling around and those two are zombies and they’re shuffling back and forth, but their hands brush each other as they’re going by.

Craig: Oh, I thought it was sad.

Todd: Sad,

Craig: right? Well, like, like they, they, they walk right by one another and it’s like, their hands just kind of brushed, but it’s almost like they linger a little bit, like, yeah.

I don’t know. I don’t know if the movie was trying to suggest that some part of their humanity was still there. I mean, they’re obviously just lumbering zombies. They’re not walking around hand in hand, but as they happen to pass their hands kind of linger for just a moment. Yeah. I liked it. And you mentioned into the woods before, and I think that was a good comparison because in that show, in the second act, people that you care very much about and who have had redemption arcs die, it is sad.

And I feel like that happens here too. Not necessarily redemption arcs, Chris and Lisa were very, very likable characters from the beginning. They didn’t need any redemption, but, uh, it’s sad. Oh, anyway, um, Anna ends up, she. Gets to the auditorium where the Christmas pageant or whatever had been. And so everything’s still all set up and there’s a bunch of zombies in there, but Savage has her dad tied up with Christmas, Christmas lights on the stage, and apparently the zombies aren’t smart enough to figure out how to get up there.

Apparently up there they’re safe, but Anna. He, I don’t know what Savage says. He challenges her something, but she kneels down and starts putting her hair up and sings the hero song, you know, the hero fight song at the end. And it’s like, you know, when you’re called to the stage, give them one hell of a show or something like that.

And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but there was a musical episode of Buffy the vampire Slayer. That was amazing. And there’s basically this exact same. Moment where in that in Buffy Buffy, you know, has to suit up and fight all these demons while she’s singing her hero arc song. And I love that episode of that show.

Well, I love the whole show, but I love that episode of that show. And this was very reminiscent of it. So I liked this too, and she fights zombies while she’s singing and Savage duets with her. Eventually she jumps on stage and untied her dad and her dad fights Savage, which was very satisfying. And the dad has the opportunity to throw Savage to the zombies, but he doesn’t.

But when he turns his back Savage goes to attack him again. And so Anna knocks him off of the stage to the zombies and he gets eaten. And here’s the moment where my eyes more than glistened. Anna’s happy to be with her dad. And she says, we’ve got a car. We can go. And he looks very melancholy and shows her that he’s been bitten on his leg, which I don’t.

Really understand when that happened. Did you, did it happen? And I missed

Todd: it. Fight Savage had had him kind of backed up against the zombies at the edge of the stage. And I think we didn’t actually see it happen, but I think the implication is the one of them. It must have reached out or gotten to his leg at that point.

Craig: Okay. Yeah. I didn’t know. I mean, I didn’t care. I believed it, it happened whatever. I just didn’t see it, so I didn’t know what to happen. Um, but he’s been bit. And so they have to say this sad, heartfelt goodbye. And it really is sad. And, you know, he talks about how proud he is of her and how proud her mom would have been.

And she doesn’t want to leave him, but she says he has to. And of course, this is when Nick shows up and the dad says, well, I’m not, I don’t really love your boyfriend. And she’s like, he’s not my boyfriend. And he’s like, well, okay, then it’s a good

Todd: Chicago.

Craig: She asks if he wants her. To kill him. And he says no.

And Nick says, no, don’t do it. Like,

Todd: like nicknames that wasn’t, uh,

Craig: yeah, it messed him up. So don’t do it. So Nick pulls her away and as she’s being pulled away, the dad says, Merry Christmas, Anna. And she says, Merry Christmas, dad, it killed me. It killed me. It’s killing me again, just talking about it.

But they go outside and there’s zombies everywhere and it looks very hopeless. Like they’re kind of surrounded and they sing the sad pensive reflective in the song, you know, and the lyrics are. Whereas the light that used to shine, where is the life? That once was mine, but then the chorus is like, while there is hope, while I still breathe, I will believe.

And it looks like, it looks like the two of them are going to get, you know, killed by these zombies. And then, and that’s when we see the montage of zombie Lisa, Nick, and the. Lounge or whatever. And then we see zombie John sitting back in that mall where they were before, which again made me sad and he accidentally he’s, he’s been wearing this ugly Christmas sweater throughout, and we know that it lights up, but he only did that for a second earlier.

But in this moment, like, as his zombie arms are flailing around, he accidentally turns it on. Any kind of looks down and looks at it. And that broke my heart too. We see the dad die, looking at a picture of, and on his phone, it’s all very. Kind of depressing and the zombies are approaching, but it starts to snow and it’s, you know, it’s like the magic of it.

Chris

Steph rips around the corner of her car and picks up like slams on the brakes and looks at them through the window and says, boom, saved your life.

Yeah, and they get in the car. And in the background quietly, you start to hear that song from the beginning that no such thing as a Hollywood ending playing and Steph says what next? And they all just kind of look at each other and they just keep driving. The Merry Christmas banner flies across the scene, and then zombie Sante pops up in front of the camera.

And then there’s a super, super cute animated credit sequence that kind of, you know, shows basically the events of the movie, but it’s animated and Christmas special style. Very cute. And then it’s over. And dude, I did not expect to like this as much as I did, but at this point I’m kind of pissed. That this came out in 2017 and I’ve only, I’m only seeing it now.

And I thought about because my, my partner is big into musicals too, but I thought, you know, this is probably going to be stupid, so I didn’t watch it with him, but I got a half an hour into it and I’m like, Oh my gosh, he would like this. And by the time I was done with it, I went back and talked to him and I’m like, we’re going to watch this and you’re going to like it.

And I’m really looking forward to showing it to him now because he loves Christmas movies. In fact, he told me the other day that he thinks that Crump has, may be his new favorite Christmas movie, really, which made me really happy. Wow. But anyway, I can underst if you, if you’re not a fan of musical theater, you’re not going to enjoy this movie because it is a musical.

It is a legit musical. Um, but if you do like musical theater and if you like horror comedy, this it’s gold. I love it.

Todd: Yeah. I mean, I, I knew that I was just going to have to let you do all the talking for this episode,

Craig: which is a huge change from usual. Oh yeah.

Todd: Right.

Because I mean, I, I love musicals too. I I’m not into them. Like, uh, you know, I don’t keep up with the newest ones, but I do love musicals. I’ve seen a lot of them on TV and movies. I’ve seen a lot of the monsters. Stage, um, you’re right. This is first and foremost, a musical second. A comedy third, a holiday movie and fourth, a horror movie.

The horror of the situation is, you know, again, in a, in another musical, these, these characters, this guy would die from cancer. You know, this person would have to go away forever. It’s very formulaic and it’s just layered over with the disaster beef setting. Everybody is the zombies. So in that respect, um, it’s fun to watch, uh, the zombie aspect of it, if you’re really hoping for that.

I mean, like I said, it’s not scary and there’s not a lot of tension there when it comes to the zombies, but it is gory and very inventive with those. Staginess of the scenes and the fight sequences are good. Like you said, the dance sequences are good and the music is good. You know, it’s not going to win major awards, but one or two of those songs, you know, would probably make it into my playlist.

They’re catchy and fun. Gosh, that time of year, I think it’s called it’s that time of year. That song that she sings about Santa coming down. Empty cosac, uh, that will definitely make it into my Christmas playlist for sure. So nothing else out of this movie? So we got to, we got to thank Neil for the request.

Like you said, a good discovery this year, this holiday we’re doing pretty well so far for holiday movies, I think.

Craig: Well, and, and I, I really firmly believe that like Krampus, which has become, you know, an, an annual tradition in our house, I think this will too. We really. Enjoy, you know, the holiday movies, horror, comedy, whatever, you know, sweet, well we’re into that kind of stuff.

And this totally fits the bill. I really believe we’ll be watching it probably every year for a long time. And I really enjoyed it. And listeners, if you haven’t seen it, it’s available on Amazon prime. I think it’s available on another streaming service too. I don’t remember one thing to mention the version that I watched on Amazon prime.

Is the U S cut. There was a European cut that had a few more minutes, but there’s also a blue Ray cut that has like 15 additional minutes. And I think a couple of extra songs, and I may want to look into that at some point, but even the, the version that’s available widely online, you know, that’s the one we talked about today.

It’s great. I highly recommend it and I hope you enjoy it. And we’ll be back with you next week with one more Christmas movie. If you enjoyed this episode. As always, please feel free to share with friends, recommend us, leave us a review comments. Start at the top. This discussion with us, you know, on Facebook, you can private message us.

You know, we get private messages all the time. We try to respond to those as much as we can. Um, we love hearing from you. You can find us anywhere. You can find podcasts. We have a website, got a Facebook page we’re on all of these streaming services, Google plus iTunes, all that kind of stuff. So until next time I’m Craig and I’m Todd with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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