RogerBW's Blog

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead 15 February 2019

2014 Australian zombie horror, dir. Kiah Roache-Turner, Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradley: IMDb / allmovie. vt Wyrmwood. After a night of shooting stars, most people seem to have turned into zombies; Barry sets out to rescue his sister Brooke. But the military seem to know more than they're saying. vt Wyrmwood.

As a technical zombie film, this is well done; the gore effects are practical rather than computer-generated and mostly plausible, and while there seem to be two distinct infection routes the logic of the thing pretty much holds together. The low budget means that we're mostly in the wilderness rather than venturing into urban areas.

But where it shines is as a story about people, and about hard choices (all right, mostly about having to shoot people you love once they've turned into flesh-eating monsters). The culture of Australian blokiness is all through this film, and it makes a welcome change from the relatively standard zombie survival story; in particular, the infighting one sees in American zombie films and their direct imitators is much less present here. And then there's what happens to Brooke; all right, it's unfortunate that she should end up running about in a low-cut tank top for much of the film while everyone else is armoured up against zombie bites, but not only does she get a story of her own, it's one I haven't seen done before in a film of this sort.

It never becomes clear just how much the military faction knows, but a key point for me was that saying "this is about the survival of the human race" is distinctly unconvincing when what you're doing is running around killing everyone who disagrees with you.

The actors, mostly fairly new to the job, manage to project personality as well as handling the physical stuff, and while the editor was a bit too find of quick cuts the camerawork is excellent.

A sequel has been planned for a while, and most recently was expected to take the form of a TV series. If it ever happens, I'll be interested.

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