The new AMC+ series, Anna, is not the first to tackle a post-apocalyptic world. However, it does bring a different slant on the genre by exploring the remnants of a society where only the children remain. Would the natural innocence of the young create a better civilization or would it all crumble faster because of their lack of experience, knowledge, and direction?
The story falls more into the latter. It follows the titular character after a virus has wiped out all the adults. She cares for her younger brother, Astor, by scavenging for food and supplies while he stays back in their home out in the woods. Just because only kids remain doesn’t mean there isn’t danger out there so she must be careful in navigating the new status quo.
The series premiere is a slow burn as it develops the world and its main character. A series of flashbacks are used to not only shed light on the early stages of the pandemic but also highlight Anna’s complicated family relationship. Her parents are divorced and Astor is a stepbrother.
What drives much of the emotional narrative is how strained things become between her and her mother. Like any good parent, her mom is doing what’s best for her family even if it means making some tough and heartless choices. In her last days, she prepares a journal on ways to survive in order to guide her children when she’ gone. It’s interesting to note, despite the drama between mother and daughter, the reverence the kids have for her because when everything is in a disheveled state of disarray, the room she died in is impeccably kept.
Anna paints a dismal picture of future Italy where you do what you must to survive. The use of the children only makes things more jarring. The biggest threat is a gang of marauding youths who plunder goods from anyone who crosses their path.
There are acts of compassion smothering a recently afflicted teen to end his misery and even our protagonist isn’t above swindling those younger than her for food. It’s also haunting to have corpses of adults littered around the surroundings. Despite this, there are rare fun moments such as when our hero relaxes and lets the air blow through her face and hair while riding a motorbike.
Other aspects that make me curious is the implementation of a supernatural aspect. You don’t know whether it’s a product of young superstition or if there is something more at play. In addition, the end of the episode, though disturbing, raises more questions about the virus and the survivors.
“The Woods Protect Us” is a slow burn but an intriguing introduction into a post-apocalyptic world that kids rule.
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