Movie Review: ‘Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead’
Director: Kiah Roache-Turner
Cast: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradley, Leon Burchill, Luke McKenzie
Plot: After an asteroid shower lights up the sky of Australia a large chunk of the population turn into zombies. When flammable liquids no longer power cars a group of survivors find a way to rig up the gassy undead to their cars to get on their way.
Review: This schlocky indie Australian film knows exactly who it’s target audience is going to be and is going all out to market itself as the next cult horror film, describing itself as Dawn of the Dead mixed in with Mad Max. Honestly, aside from the zombies and armoured folk on Australian roads, it doesn’t carry the social commentary of the former or the scale of the latter. Instead I’d call it (favourably) this generations Bad Taste and Braindead (Dead/Alive to you American types).
Like the aforementioned gore-fests Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is dripping in local culture, blue collar sensibilities, tongue in check humour and a delight in comical violence. Also like Jackson’s early work Wyrmwood was made on a tiny budget, putting ingenuity and creativity on the screen in the place of cold CGI effects.
Speaking of local culture, this movie is Australian. Really fucking Australian. It’s like those Buzzfeed articles about how whacky Australians are. They have beer stashed in the first aid kit, they face zombies dressed like Ned Kelly and pull out a boomerang when confronted by military types. It’s all in good fun though, played for a chuckle more than anything else and it’s clear that all involved are having plenty of fun behind the camera. The good humour bleeds onto the screen and it’s easy to get on board with the goofiness. The problem here is that when the movie angles into more emotional territory it jars with the overall mood.
Being a cranky old sod I’ve seen this kind of movie plenty of times before. More style than substance and comedy and gore making up more screen time than story and character. There’s enough to propel the story along but it’s not going to redefine the genre. Young and aspire film makers should absolutely seek it out, because it’s great seeing dedicated film-makers getting down and dirty with a shoestring budget for the sake of their art.
If you want zombie mayhem, there’s a lot worse out there.
Rating: SIX out of TEN.