It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014)
Director: Kiah Roache-Turner
Writers: Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner
If George Miller and Peter Jackson had a zombie rage-baby, it would be Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead.
What? You want more than that?
Okay, let’s start again. Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is the Australian zombie-action feature film debut from the Roache-Turner brothers. It was filmed over four years of weekend shoots and cost an estimated $160,000 dollars ($37,000 of which was raised via Indiegogo), but may actually have up to a million dollars’ worth of work on the screen thanks to performers and crew deferring payments.
That’s the fucking definition of a labor of love.
It may also be the definition of madness.
Wyrmwood is a chaotic grindhouse explosion of gore, violence, and jokes that isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you’re a splatter fan with a twisted sense of humor (and don’t take yourself too seriously), you’re probably going to love this. The story is bare-bones, but there are narrative innovations scattered throughout that liven up what could be stale ideas and present a zombie apocalypse unlike any other.
First up, we’re dealing with the familiar “group of strangers have to come together to survive the zombie apocalypse” topos with a touch of biblical Armageddon for flavoring. We’ve got Benny (Leon Burchill) who opted to shoot the leg off of his zombie brother rather than kill him the morning after a strange meteor shower that triggered the zombie infection of seemingly random people all over the world (?). He meets up with Barry (Jay Gallagher), a mechanic who had to kill his wife and daughter and is now driven to find his sister, Brooke (Bianca Bradey), an artist who has been captured by what may or not be a mobile government lab run by a mad scientist (Berynn Schwerdt). Along the way, Benny and Barry are joined by Frank (Keith Agius) and together discover that during the day the zombies breathe methane which inspires Barry to rig up a zombie-fueled armored truck that would be right at home in The Road Warrior.
The Roache-Turners have come up with a clever way of having both the slow-moving and sprinting zombies that kind of makes sense and follows the internal logic of the film, as well as come up with a novel concept for the initial spread of infection. What they’ve also done (there’s really a lot going on here!) is craft an origin story for Brooke, who is transformed into a zombie-controlling superhero of sorts, which sets up the potential for any number of sequels.
At the moment, the brothers have announced their next project as a “mental ghost” film that harkens back to Ghostbusters with a touch of Lovecraft and Stephen King, and they have every intention of returning to the world of Wyrmwood in 2017 with as much of the original cast as possible.
I, for one, can’t wait!