and the Apocalypse
And now for something completely different: a zombie Christmas high
It begins innocently enough: a
high school girl, Anna (Ella Hunt) is being driven to school, along with
her classmate, John (Malcolm Cumming), by her Dad, Tony (Mark Benton).
What begins as a casual discussion about plans after graduation
turns into an argument, when Dad discovers that Anna isn't planning to go
the University, after all, but instead wants to do some traveling, and
she's already bought a ticket to Australia.
Dad is so angry he finally flusters about how her Mother would have
been disappointed in her, and since she's obviously deceased, Anna
considers this a really low blow, and slams the car door in a huff on her
way to her first class, yelling “I hate you!”, but she really doesn't.
And she'll need to buy back some tenderness later.
It turns out that John and Anna are best of friends, and even work
together in a bowling alley after school.
There are a couple of opportunities for musical numbers, and
they're developed alongside some other students from school, like Steph
(Sarah Swire), who's wanting to be an “honest” journalist, and
therefore clashing with the teacher, Mr. Savage (Paul Kaye), and Nick (Ben
Wiggins) who was briefly Anna's boyfriend, but now only succeeds in
annoying her. Sounds like
typical high school stuff, right? Except
there's a stage performance that turns out a lot racier and more verbally
suggestive than you would ever see in any high school production.
And, suddenly, in the background, we begin to see zombies.
Yes, like the ones you see in horror movies.
Where the zombies only have to take one bite out of you and then
you become one of them. And
then, like a staggering pack of wolves, they seek out the uninitiated for
victims. The only way you can
stop them is quite violently, like bashing them on the head with a
baseball bat (or, in Anna's case, a big candy cane prop from the school
play). Yes, it's a
head-shaking juxtaposition, but that, of course, is precisely the point.
For a while there, the music becomes scarce while our once-ordinary
teenagers are seen fighting for their lives against the angry mob that
once comprised their friends and fellow students.
But once the movie decides who, exactly, is going to survive all
this (besides Anna, of course), we seem to remember to go back to the
music, but sometimes we're singing literally while we're bashing zombie
heads. Or somebody dressed
like Santa. Or Frosty the
Ella Hunt has just the charm and verve to pull this off with tongue
in cheek, but somehow all in fun, even the more serious parts.
We will probably be seeing her again, perhaps next time in a
slightly more traditional role, but then, almost anything else would be.