Star – Australia
Genre – Comedy > Horror
Run Time – 98 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – Australia
Awards – 1 Wins & 3 Nominations
Amazon – £5.95 DVD £8.95 Blue Ray
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So an Aussie zombie flick anyone? That’s the spirit! They make films fun and quirky Down Under and although few horror films coming out of there these days when they do, they are always different. Wolf Creek was one of the most visceral and terrifying I have seen to date from any country and the fun comedy horrors like The Loved Ones (2010) and Rogue (2007) extremely enjoyable, and the internationally rated ones of The Badadook (2014) and Saw (2004) cult classics with the critics and wider audiences. Yep, both Aussie movies!
It’s the debut feature film of director and writer Kia Roache – Turner, a film that took 4 longs years to complete as the team only worked weekends, and for just $160,000 dollars budget total. It’s not exactly a career move. But all concerned were well rewarded with a cracking little B-movie here and your chance to see it. Just mix up those enigmatic Australian vistas, the whole Aboriginal Dreamtime thing and Australia’s delightful classless society and throw in the zombies and away you go!
• Jay Gallagher as Barry
• Bianca Bradey as Brooke
• Leon Burchill as Benny
• Luke McKenzie as The Captain
• Yure Covich as Chalker
• Catherine Terracini as Annie
• Keith Agius as Frank
• Meganne West as Meganne
• Berryn Schwerdt as The Doctor
• Cain Thompson as McGaughlin
• Beth Aubrey as Charlotte
• Sheridan Harbridge as Sherri
• Damian Dyke as Thompson
Benny : [upon firing his shotgun] Oh sh*t, he wasn't a zombie?
Barry the Abo: No he f*cking wasn't!
Benny: Is he alright? Is he ok?
Barry the Abo: His head is f*cked!
‘Abo’ Aussie ‘Benny’ (Leon Burchill) and his brother are in the Bush with a campfire raging and the beers popping after a days hunting. The sky is suddenly lit up by a magnificent meteor shower. Benny is awoken by his mate grunting and acting strange at dawn. When he turns around he can see his bro has been zombified. He has no choice but to waste him with his shotgun.
Also in the area is mechanic Barry (Jay Gallagher), who lives in a small outback town with his misses Annie (Catherine Terracini) and daughter Meganne (Meganne West). During the same meteor shower, Barry's sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey), a photographer, is attacked in her barn come studio by her model and her assistant, who have suddenly become zombies. She calls Barry and warns him to get out of Dodge sharpish. He, Annie, and Meganne fight off one zombie and don gas masks and fight their way to the family car, fearing some sort of chemical attack. When Meganne and Annie remove their gas masks they become infected and also zombify and Barry is forced to kill them with a nailgun when they crash the car. He runs out of nails before he can kill himself.
Chalker (another survivor), finds Barry in the road and knocks him unconscious before he can top himself after killing his family, as you would. Coming to his senses Barry asks Chalker to take him to Brooke's studio, unaware that a rapidly mobilized paramilitary group has taken her captive in the back of a truck that serves as a mobile lab for mad scientist Doc (Luke McKenzie). Doc is experimenting on the zombies and trying to find a cure, it seems, be it with unconventional methods.
Chalker and Barry continue on foot after the car mysteriously breakdowns. Benny has just wasted his mate but mistakenly kills Chalker, thinking he is a zombie. The two team up and come upon a garage staffed by Frank (Keith Agius) and his garage assistant Tommo (Damian Dyke). The pair have discovered a few facts since the zombie apocalypse and have adapter their vehicles accordingly with weapons and fuel. They also pick up Benny here to join the zombie killing crew.
The group set off in pursuit of Barry’s sister, unbeknown the paramilitaries are holding her and now in pursuit of them, both splattering and smashing through the increasing number of zombies on the Red Center’s arrow straight roads. It seems Brooke has unique zombie chick blood and maybe the key to the cure.
Its good stuff folks and funny and blokey in the way we love the Aussies. The Sisters also roll their sleeves up with a fag on to blast some zombie ass, and some rare positive Aboriginal casting to go with. Whenever you watch an Aussie movie it always feels like there are only two Aboriginal actors in Australian film, Leon Burchill and the one from Crocodile Dundee. Either way Leo is very funny here. I don’t recognize any other cast members here and rare not to have at least one of Bryan Brown, Hugo Weaving or Sam Neil in it.
It’s gory but in a comic Akira way as the defenseless zombies are sliced and diced, blasted and blown up and dispatched with ease. These are the slow walking zombies and so plenty of time to tee them up and pick your weapon and method of dispatch. There is something about zombie slaying that you just can’t get enough of. As expected the lead female becomes the emancipated anti hero as the boys fall by the wayside in true gallant Aussie style.
Plot wise it’s not straightforward with some new genre twisting ideas here. I can’t recall a zombie films that use the neat tricks we see here to keep things moving. Its slightly trippy soundtrack and those wonderfully atmospheric locations of the Outback add to the appeal and jokes inserted to distract when it’s clear there wasn’t enough money to finish that particular scene so we will come back to that later.
Its Mad Max meets 28 Weeks Later at times as the boys mow down the zombies in their homemade heavily armored trucks. The zombie outbreak is also localized so that adds another layer to the wholesome bloody sandwich. It does hit a few gaping plotholes at times but very much ‘no worries mare’ as the cast all but grin at the camera because of that pothole. The important thing here is you are kept entertained throughout as a suitable number of zombies are dispatched. It’s a little bit Dreamtime trippy in places and never explained how the militia came to be in such short notice and why it turns into Twilight half way through. But I enjoyed it and I am recommending it to you as we all know there is no such thing as a bad zombie movie. It’s just the coolest thing to see them dispatched by what ever weaponry is to hand.
Imdb.com – 6.3/10.0 (12,3245votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 54% critic’s approval
OK stuff from behind the scenes as the director and cast tell of their budgetary woes.
Times UK –‘If you like your zombie movies ultra-violent, ironic and delivered in a power-shower of blood, then Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead will be right up your street’.
Guardian –‘Proceeds with more energy than inspiration, liberally splashing ketchup over genre clichés’.
Little White Lies –‘much of the joy here is in the high-octane mix of weird & wacky tropes. They shouldn't really fit together & probably don't, but they certainly drive the narrative along, juggernaut-like, over any sense of expectation, familiarity or even good taste’.
The Mail –‘Blissfully light on logic, even by the zombie genre's low standards, the film is held together by a furious hell-for-leather momentum that masks a range of narrative oddities and inconsistencies’.
LA Times –‘The Roache-Turners prove to have the right mix of micro-budget filmmaking ingenuity, action sass and undead splatter to make "Wyrmwood" a tastier than usual exploitation nosh’.
Sydney Morning Herald –‘.Wyrmwood is the kind of film that gives me hope for the zombie subgenre- it's clever, hellaciously entertaining and masterfully executed by Roache-Turner, who shows us that you can still find new and exciting ways to fight zombies’.
Toronto Times –‘If you want nothing more than to watch zombies get mowed down in elaborate ways while a bunch of actors shout at each other, Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead certainly offers that. But I'm afraid it doesn't offer much else’.
The List –‘Despite Wyrmwood never quite matching up to the films it emulates, it's often ingenious, with a passion for the sub-genre that's genuinely infectious’.