Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (Horror, 2014) (18) D: Kiah Roache-Turner W: Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner P: C: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Luke McKenzie. 1h 38m. Australia.
Synopsis : Barry is a talented mechanic and family man whose life is torn apart on the eve of a zombie apocalypse. His sister, Brooke, is kidnapped by a sinister team of gas-mask wearing soldiers & experimented on by a psychotic doctor. While Brooke plans her escape Barry goes out on the road to find her & teams up with Benny, a fellow survivor – together they must arm themselves and prepare to battle their way through hordes of flesh-eating monsters in a harsh Australian bushland.
The beginning of the movie starts in a similar manner to the world war z book, detailing what seems to be 3 different stories revolving around the early stages of a virus outbreak. A father, Barry (Jay Gallagher) wakes in the night to protect his family from a stranger found in the kitchen, a woman Brook (Bianca Brady) who is doing a zombie inspired photo shoot is soon shocked to discover the model is now an infected and gas to fight for her life in her studio. A native aboriginal man Benny (Leon Burchill) out hunting with his brothers soon discovers that one of them has turned and he is now being hunted.
As these three apparent strangers get entwined with other survivors their salvation comes in the guise of a zombie nitro charged armored car of the apocalypse and a few new and intelligent surprises for the tired zombie/infection genre to boot.
Brook gets abducted by a psychopathic disco loving military surgeon who likes to “make a little love and get down to-night” while he is torturing and researching Zombie’s in the back of a military van. Meanwhile her brother Barry is making his own discoveries about the outbreak while on a mission to find his sister.
Writer and Director Kiah Roache-Turner is no stranger to high-octane movies starring Gallagher, while Wyrmwood is his first full length feature, his two previous shirts, Roadrunner and WarGames are both past paced black comedy action films. He manages to keep the pace and laughs constantly through this quirky feature.
Australia has not only produced some really interesting twists in the zombie field with classic movies like Braindead (1992) and they have managed to mix things up in the Spierig brother’s Undead (2003) who also threw the vampire world into a spin in Daybreakers (2009), so it’s no surprise that Wyrmwood opens up new avenues here while keeping the unique Aussie comedy element. While keeping itself fresh throughout, there are lashings of blood and gore, stinky breath Zombie’s in this funny horror flick.
While the budget was low it does provide great effects and is truly a great film to watch, it’s not perfect but in a similar vein to other indie horrors, it’s just great fun and is entertaining throughout. It does tip a hat to other low brow classics like Evil Dead (1981), the director has a hard on for Mad Max (1979) even addicting references in his short movies. There is a curious scene when the group pass a zombie girl by the side of the road in a red jacket, is this a homage to Don’t look now (1973)? And a well handled scene where the group get trapped overnight in a car surrounded by zombies, is reminiscent of The Battery (2012).
Rating – 8/10
T : A true labor of love this film took 4 years to make as it was worked on at weekends.
Q : “this truck runs on zombies, no zombies no truck.”
TIL : there’s a lot more to the zombie genre that’s finally being explored!!
BS : setting fire to the zombie in the freezer….
DGI : Knock a shot for every kill
L: Selected zombie Movie Road movies
A: Zombie vs Infected.
PD : Post Discussion – coming soon