Anna and the Apocalypse

The very idea of mashing up Disney’s High School Musical and the cult zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead seems woeful and desperate, yet this Scottish production manages to be even worse than it sounds. Screenwriters Alan McDonald and Ryan McHenry must have thought they were being clever by bringing together cliches from seemingly incompatible genres; their script, however, consists of nothing but cliches, and as a result you can see every narrative development coming from a mile away. That might have been tolerable if director John McPhail hadn’t struck such an insufferably smug tone—the film feels awfully impressed with itself, and for no reason other than that its makers possess the most basic awareness of modern genre film conventions. The one bright spot is the spirited cast, whose genuine good cheer ameliorates the obnoxious self-reflexivity of the writing and direction.