Anomaly ‘The 12 Days of Christmas: A Tale of Avian Misery’ / Anomaly
At some point during the umpteen times we’ve sung ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ over the course of our lives we’ve all been distracted by wondering who on earth would buy such bizarre gifts for their significant other. Perhaps even more concerning is the idea that the recipient was actually pleased with this hellish menagerie and the burden of keeping everything alive, to the extent that they wrote quite an irritating song about it. Ultimately, one just has to decide that they both deserve each other and move on. Advertising agency Anomaly has taken the troubling elements of this Christmas classic and run with them, creating a film that plays out the song from the perspective of a woman who receives these gifts in the way that any sane person would, to hilarious effect.
The eight-minute animation is narrated by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator and star of one of 2016’s biggest comedies, Fleabag. Ominous music opens to set the tone for the macabre events that follow. On the first day of Christmas, Waller-Bridge’s character receives a delivery of a partridge in a pear tree, a gift she finds a little odd although she puts on a brave face and is tentatively grateful for the effort put in by her true love. Things start to unravel on the second day, ‘I know nothing about caring for birds but now I have four of them in my flat. This is when I started to wonder about him’. From there things go from bad to worse, and the horror mounts as her sinister boyfriend becomes a sinister ex-boyfriend who continues to send her gifts despite being told where to go. In the end, she flees the country.
Dark humour is applied perfectly in this fantastic piece of creativity from Anomaly which transforms a much-loved Christmas song into a grisly tale of woe. The animation is well-crafted and contributes both to the unsettling atmosphere and the comedy – whenever a partridge arrives it promptly defecates into the pear tree. And Waller Bridge delivers a great script perfectly in the role of a woman thinking the thoughts over which anyone would ponder when faced with her debacle – ‘On the eleventh day, eleven pipers piping show up at my front door, and I’m thinking, I don’t even know how he has the money or influence to make this happen.’
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend eight minutes and, from Anomaly’s point of view, is a fantastic way to put themselves and their services in the shop window over the Christmas period. As the name suggests, they’re an agency who like to stand out from the crowd, rejecting even the label of ‘advertising agency’, and this film both slots in perfectly to their ethos and showcases the not-an-agency’s creative flair.