Never did I think this random movie I came across browsing Netflix would be worth my attention. I see it all the time. A film I have never heard of pops up. It has a badass cover/poster with something to pull me in. Then, I watch the movie only to find nothing from the cover made it in to the final cut, and if it does find its way in it doesn’t look nearly as good as advertised. This poster for Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead promises cool costumes, big guns and a horde of zombies.
This next piece of art features a different character with some sort of restraint over her mouth, suggesting she might have a type of viral infection that still allows her to fight with a gun/make rational decisions. This time the other faces aren’t all zombies, some appear to be human adversaries. Well, if you judged Wyrmwood by its cover(s), like I did, you weren’t let down. It delivers all of the implied material and a whole lot more!
This film’s colors explode off of the screen, from the contrasting yellows and blues in the mad doctor’s lab (above) to the blood-soaked battles of the ragtag group of survivors trying to get by (below). I absolutely loved the tone of Wyrmwood. It goes from depressing and glum to downright hilarious faster than a snapped neck. The characters, though sometimes short-lived, all have interesting quirks and qualities. My favorite has to be the personality of Benny, the aboriginal guy who speaks in finite, literal bursts.
Yes, aboriginal as in Australian. I have been unintentionally gravitating towards films from the outback lately like Wyrmwood, Lake Mungo, The Loved Ones, and even The Babadook to name a few. Out of those examples, Wyrmwood is the leader when it comes to innovative plot details. For instance, the crew finds out that something in the air makes gasoline and other fuels useless, but they accidentally figure out an alternative. Then one survivor inherits an amazing ability uncommon to the zombie sub-genre. Even the billowing, green stench emanating from the zombies is something other z-films don’t touch on (unless it’s a one time throwaway thing). All of these awesome things are impressively strung together by first time director Kiah Roache-Turner, splitting the writing with his brother Tristan. The only hang-up I had with the film was the lack of a solid ending. The story seems to run out of turns at the finale and ends without any closure. Aside from that, if my debut film was Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, I would be extremely proud!
4 Dawn of the Dead/Mad Max comparisons out of 5