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My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving review
man with special needs bonds with others through his love of a zombie TV show.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Charles B. Unger

Starring: Joshua Warren Bush, Ray Chang, Chris Wu, Grace Shen, Walker Haynes, Ciera Foster

My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving poster

Marcus (Joshua Warren Bush) is a special needs adult living in a group home. At the beginning of the film, he is watching his favourite show ‘Apocalyptic Zombies’ with his elderly friend Doris, who also happens to be the owner of the home. Unfortunately, at a penultimate scene in the show, Doris is struck by a heart attack and passes away leaving Marcus bereft, and more aware than ever of his lack of family. This ignites in Marcus a desire to find his long-lost mother, a woman whose name he doesn’t even know.

Meanwhile, he also befriends Kim (Chris Wu), a drug addict but also someone who can provide him with the care and stability Marcus has been craving, by allowing the special needs man into his home and family. Marcus also gets a job at the family laundromat and starts to come out of his shell, discovering skills and abilities he didn’t know he had.

My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving review

And still we watch that zombie show along with Marcus as a show within the film, its blue tones and soapy acting in sharp contrast to the clear visuals and realistic dialogue of Marcus’s reality.

When his mother is located in state prison, Marcus is excited to finally know where she has been, but the quest to find her takes another turn when the drug dealers in Kim’s world bleed into his. Will the skills and survival instincts he learnt from ‘Apocalyptic Zombies’ help keep him and the group home safe?

My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving review

Essentially a drama that features scenes from a very tame zombie TV show, this has no real horror elements to speak of, so if you were drawn by the words ‘zombie apocalypse’, you will be disappointed.

Directed by Charles B Unger in his first feature film since 2008, and written by Richard Soriano (who also stars as Kim’s father), this is a cuddly jumper movie that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, and just takes its time to tell its story about the desire for family and connections. It has good intentions and because of this, it's difficult to critique, but from a purely critical perspective it has a few glaring flaws. It's overlong and meandering; it feels as if the film-makers loved the story and characters so much that they failed to take a discerning look at things and cut where necessary. This film needs a much tighter focus and clearer endgame in order to really connect.

My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving review

The music by David G Russell sounds inappropriately like the theme song from a kids' show about science, and the poster seems to be pointing to a whacky almost cartoonish tone, which feels at odds with some of the more dramatic elements the filmmakers seem to want us to experience. The biggest issue with this film really is the tone - it’s all over the place and struggles to marry the disparate pieces of story and genre.

The central performance by Bush is convincing and held a lot of this movie together when the script failed to engage, but unfortunately that just isn’t enough to sustain a 105-minute movie.

My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving is on US VOD now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

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