A fate worse than death: becoming a zombie – as seen in hundreds of movies about zombie invasions. Some are great and some are rubbish, but we can’t get enough of them, can we? Wyrmwood is another entry in the flesh-eating canon. I wasn’t expecting much from this micro-budget “B” movie, but it was one of the best cinematic surprises in a long while.
It’s an awesome mix of Mad Max and Zombieland, with a splash of George A. Romero and Sam Raimi. Paying homage to its influences, it has all the ingredients of an old-school zombie flick. From hordes of the undead, a desolate wasteland, to a fierce battle for survival, this film has a lot to recommend it.
Our hero is Barry (Jay Gallagher), an everyman mechanic who lives in the Australian outback. The drama kicks in when Barry gets a frantic phone call from his sister Brooke, who has just survived a zombie attack. These attacks are happening everywhere, so his only choice is to armour up and fight. The film actually starts mid-way, with grunting zombies being shot at left right and centre, but then it rewinds time to the day before the outbreak.
The meat of the plot is when Brooke gets kidnapped by a paramilitary group, so Barry teams up with some fellow survivors to try and find his sister. It’s a standard set up, but with more humour and energy; you better get the popcorn out because this movie is 100% entertainment. It might not be the best ninety minutes of your life, but it’ll grab your attention like the best films do.
It’s the action and comedy that won me over. Character development and narrative aren’t a priority, but the actors do well at making you care about what’s happening. It has an in-your-face style with DIY horror that feels more authentic. But, Wyrmwood is at its best when it brings out the absurd, such as the idea that zombies can power up an engine: “This truck runs on zombies. No zombies? No truck.” There are some very funny scenes and the dialogue goes hand-in-hand.
Watching Barry and his team gear up in armoured outfits to fight their way through dozens of zombies is fun and brutal. Towards the end, it does seem to run out of ideas as the rapid pace loses momentum, but I have very little to complain about.
A mad, totally bonkers film that is held together by a decent story. It brings some new touches to a tired genre by introducing some interesting concepts. More than just a footnote to the movies and tv shows that have clearly inspired it, Wyrmwood aims higher, making it a good zombie movie in its own right. See it.
Director: Kiah Roach-Turner
Writers: Kiah Roach-Turner & Tristan Roach-Turner
Stars: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradley, Keith Agius, Leon Burchill
Distributor: IFC Films
Run Time: 91 minutes.
Buy.Rent.Stream – Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead