My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #16

something I’m really excited about with the top 20 list is that it’s not exclusively a list of scream-fests and bloodbaths. Not that there’s no screaming or blood in my #16 film of the year, but I was personally responsible for less of the screaming. If I were discussing my 5 favorite movies of the year I’m sure that better-known high-anxiety scares would dominate. I’m pumped that this 20-part countdown is giving me the opportunity to highlight some of my weirder faves!

My #16 scare of 2020 is a holiday-themed musical horror comedy. Timely, I know! Before I watched it I would never have guessed it could make the top 20, but here we are. My #16 favorite scare of 2020 is…

#16. ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE (2017)

Singin’ in the apocalypse. Like you do. (c) ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE 2017.

Basically it’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (2006) but with zombies, jokes, and shockingly catchy music. The screenplay of ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE was written by Ryan McHenry and Alan McDonald. The premise is straightforward: Anna (Ella Hunt) and an ensemble of friends and frenemies get ready for the Christmas Talent Show and fight with their parents about college. Then the zombie apocalypse hits and everybody scrambles to survive, while singing about it!

The jokes are shockingly fresh and I was pleased that, despite the upbeat tone, the movie doesn’t shy away from killing plenty of important characters. There’s an annoying principal/villain character who added nil to the overall experience, but at 80-minutes he gets minimal screen time. Director John McPhail keeps the pacing nice and tight and the songs (by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly. Did I mention this movie is Scottish?) truly slap. My personal favorite lyric is sung by the requisite Hot Mean Boy while he kills zombies for a YouTube video:

When it comes to killing zombies I’m the top of my class
While you’ve been hiding I’ve been kicking some ass.

Since we are currently in the holiday season, I recommend you go watch this festive scare right now!

How Did It Score
  • How scary was it? 1/5
  • How memorable was it? 4/5
  • Was it a Quality film? 2/5
  • How about those women? 4/5
    • Here is how ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE scores on each of the gender tests:
      • Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass
      • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass
      • Willis Test: Pass
      • Ko Test: Pass. Scottish-Chinese actress Marli Siu plays Lisa, one of Anna’s friends.
      • Roxane Gay Test: Fail. The cast is predominantly white/straight/cis. It’s a comedy so nobody is super complex, although I suppose all the female characters are about equally compelling as one another.
      • Carie-Burns Test: Pass!
  • Bonus Points: 2
    • 1 for Anna beheading a zombie snowman with a seesaw
    • 1 for bowling ball murders
  • Total points: 13/20
Seriously, look at this snowman zombie.

Do you have a favorite Horror Comedy? What about a favorite Holiday scare? Drop them in the comments!

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Dramaturg. I like coffee and Whisky and dogs and talking in person.

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