Film Pulse Score

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Release Date: February 13, 2015 (Limited and VOD)
Director: Kiah Roache-Turner
MPAA Rating: NR

These days the zombie movie has thoroughly worn out its welcome, with most new entries in the sub-genre bringing very little new to the table. With that sentiment, I was apprehensive about going into Kiah Roache-Turner’s Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, thinking that it looked like a shameless attempt at merging a zombie flick with Mad Max. Indeed that is the case, but it’s executed in such a fun and ridiculously over-the-top manner, it was impossible for me to not be loving every minute of this Aussie horror-comedy.

The film is structured much like your typical zombie survival film, with small groups of survivors trying to make it another day in the apocalypse, however Wyrmwood throws in a few interesting spins to keep things feeling less rotten. First, the zombies excrete a flammable gas from their mouths during the day that, when inhaled by those that do not have blood type A-, become infected. At night, zombies use the gas to fuel themselves and becomes fast zombies (28 Days Later style), rendering them much more deadly.

Another twist inexplicably thrown in is that one of the survivors, Brooke (Bianca Bradey), can control the zombies with her mind, effectively seeing what they see and controlling their actions. This lends itself to some very clever sequences, but it would have been nice to see her utilize this power a bit more. Guess we’ll have to wait for the sequel for that.

Wyrmwood wears its influences on its sleeve, borrowing heavily from George Miller, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, but never quite achieving the same level of style and silliness. For some, this will be looked at as theft more than homage, but I appreciated the callbacks and camera mimicry. While everything had a low-budget digital feel, it didn’t detract from the overall experience.

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One of the selling points of the film is its similarity to the Mad Max series, and it certainly does feel reminiscent of George Miller’s classic ozploitation trilogy. But the car chases aren’t as numerous and not nearly as kinetic or visceral. The level of violence, however, is more abundant, with some amazingly graphic scenes of carnage that will please all the gore hounds in the audience.

If you ever wondered how Mad Max would fare in the zombie apocalypse, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is the movie for you. It’s loud, gory, ugly and rather divisive, but damn if it isn’t a blast from start to finish. Even if you’re feeling major zombie fatigue, this is worth a look.


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