Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014) – Kiah Roache-Turner

 

Available on blu-ray and DVD today from Anchor Bay is this fun, Australian, B-movie action-horror take on the zombie genre, which feels a little like Mad Max meets Romero, and is bloody as it is often funny. This time the zombies (who look like a cross between the traditional zombie, and the Deadites of Evil Dead) are caused by some sort of spatial event, there is a flurry of falling stars one night, and then, the terror starts as people are turned (and it doesn’t always take a bite!), while some remain immune.

Benny (Leon Burchill) and Barry (Jay Gallagher) pair up and hope to survive together after coming through their own terrifying, and yes, darkly humorous experiences. Family members, friends, complete strangers are turning, and these two, apparently immune, are trying to get to Bora Bora. Barry, having lost almost everyone he cares about in the first few hours of the plague, is hoping to find his sister, Brooke (Bianca Bradey), but first they have to get through hordes of zombies, in cars that no longer seem to work.

How they solve this problem is brilliant, and also serves to explain a number of things about these zombies, specifically, and why sometimes they move terrifyingly fast, and other times at a lumbering gait. That is one of my favorite reveals in the film.

But while the boys are making things bloody and messy for all involved, and gearing up to kick some Zombie ass in best Oz-pocalypse tradition, Brooke is having her own problems. She is being held in containment, where she is being experimented on by a rather deranged Doctor (Berynn Schwerdt), who is studying why she is immune, as well as experimenting on some captured zombies.

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Things play out fast, violent and furious though, and the siblings are eventually reunited, but with some other strange things going on… and while we’re meant to root for them, and their opposition, not just the zombies, are truly dastardly, they may be doing the wrong things for the right reasons. There’s an interesting anti-hero thing happening with Brooke, Barry and Benny, and humanity may be completely doomed, but these folks are going to go out in a big way.

Combining lots of violence, some science fiction, lots of horror and action with a healthy dose of humor, and just a dash of religious overtones, this one embraces it’s B-Movie nature, never quite elevating itself beyond that, but why should it want to? It knows what it wants to do, mostly, and goes careening from sequence to sequence with a squeal of tires, and a shotgun blast.

If you’re a genre fan, like zombie movies, have no problem with blood, exploding heads, and the like, this one is well worth a look. Turn off your brain, settle in and what how they survive the zombie apocalypse Down Under!

Wyrmwood: The Road of the Dead is available today from Anchor Bay!

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