Mark Benton will be a familiar face to British readers, having enjoyed a varied and successful television career on that side of the pond for many years, appearing in the likes of Midsomer Murders, The Halcyon, and Waterloo Road, among others. His latest role, as well-meaning dad Tony in movie Anna and the Apocalypse, might be the most suited to the likeable actor yet, tapping in as it does to his innate geniality.
The flick is a joy from start to finish, expertly balancing hilarious teenage banter, gory zombie kills, toe-tapping song and dance numbers, and the changing dynamics between friends, family, and colleagues that occur when the world is coming to an end. Amidst the madness, Tony’s fractured father-daughter relationship with Anna is perhaps the sweetest and most well-realised of all.
Benton’s Tony is one of just a few adults characters hiding in the school alongside the devious principal, whom he unsuccessfully tries to reason with in some of the movie’s darker moments. His character also gets a couple of Anna‘s funniest and most emotionally grounded scenes, particularly the ending, which will leave only the most hard-hearted viewer without tear stains on their sleeve. See our review of the film right here.
The Frightfest synopsis promises a delicious mixture of genres:
Shaun of the Dead gets Footlooose with High School Musical in a pure gore delight with a toe-tapping beat. Anna is looking forward to the end of high school. But while her widowed father dreams of university, she has other plans – jet-setting around the world to experience life before settling down. Suddenly a zombie apocalypse threatens her sleepy Scottish town, forcing Anna and friends to struggle, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the living dead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. A holiday horror show stopper with a mental, maniacal and magical musical edge.
Directed by John McPhail, and co-written by Alan McDonald and Ryan Henry, the movie stars Ella Hunt, Mark Benton, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, and Marli Siu. It’s equal parts funny, gory, inspiring, and surprisingly emotional.
Wicked Horror caught up with Benton at Frightfest 2018 to talk daddy-daughter relationships, the zombie apocalypse, and loads more.
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Interview conducted by: Joey Keogh
Camera: Richard Waters
Editing: Richard Waters