By Ryan Javier
This new-age Zombie action thriller from down under was first released publically on DVD in Sweden on March 30, 2015. The film has been running the festival circuit since September of last year, generating a ton of positive press and critical acclaim and was recently released in the US on VOD. The tagline, “Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead” instantly had me sold and I sat back to watch what turned out to be one of the best Zombie films that I have ever seen.
In the realm of Horror movies, and with Zombie films in particular, the tone of the film is set by the opening sequence, ideally it’s done as a violent pre-credit back-story. The first few moments of screen-time can make or break or Horror film and Wyrmwood’s director knew this and did not disappoint. As expected there’s plenty of zombies, blood, headshots and loads of tension during the film’s opening minutes, effectively setting the pace for an awesome thrill ride. Another key factor in winning over any genre fan is the makeup and special F/X and in Wyrmwood, they were extraordinary. I was very impressed with high standard of the zombie make-up and the gore F/X.
The movie centers on a small band of ordinary and down-to-earth Aussies as they struggle to survive in the midst of a Zombie apocalypse. The relative calm and normalcy of everyday life fades rapidly as the dead soon begin to rise and society collapses. Battling hordes of the undead as well as ruthless government commandos, the survivors, led by Barry (Jay Gallagher) fight their way across the outback in search of Barry’s sister, who is played by Bianca Bradey.
Wyrmwood is directed by Kiah Roache-Turner who co-wrote the film with his brother, Tristan. This is the brothers’ first feature-length film. Decidedly not mainstream-Hollywood, Wyrmwood successfully bends the rules of a western horror film, while still achieving the tension and fright integral to a making a good Zombie film. As fans-turned filmmakers, the brothers were able to bring a unique perspective to a table washed with a stale studio system mindset. Their subtle yet monumental differences have breathed new life into an otherwise stagnant genre. This movie with its thick and darkly comedic backbone, resembles a modern UK Horror film, yet with the level of seriousness normally attributed to American horror.
I am personally a huge fan of this particular genre and I’ll be the first to admit, that there are more bad Zombie films than good ones. Wyrmwood is one of rare few Zombie films which towers above the rest. I really enjoyed this movie and I recommend to any Horror fan.
Wyrmwood is a Horror film and a Zombie flick at that, so expect lots of blood and gore with this one. Although Wyrmwood is unrated in the US, the film is not for children. The film is available on online platforms such as iTunes and Amazon. The brothers are already working on a screenplay for the sequel.