Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014) | Fire up the HiLux for an awesome zombie Oz-pocalypse thrill ride
‘Oh! No! Not another zombie comedy!’ I hear you cry. Well, having sat through an endless piss stream of zom-flicks recently (they breed like flies), I was expecting another dire entry into the seemingly undying genre.
Boy was I wrong! Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is the dingo’s bollocks. So, grab yourself a coldie, put another zom-burger on the barbie, and get ready for one helluva end-of-the-world party Down Under…
‘Come on, you zombies!’
With the help of fellow zombie apocalypse survivor Benny (Leon Burchill), mechanic Barry (Jay Gallagher) tools up for a mission to save his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey) from a sicko scientist (Berynn Schwerdt) and battle a bunch of flesh-ripping undead bastards in the Australian bush…
An awesome, adrenaline-rush of an Aussie mash-up of Mad Max, Evil Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead and Romero’s Living Dead saga, Wyrmwood marks the debut feature of siblings Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner. It’s so stylishly executed, you quickly forget you are watching a low-budget indie made by a bunch of mates with the help of some generous crowd-funding investors. And its so bloody inventive, that its no wonder another campaign has been set up for a sequel to be put into the works, and for Netflix to turn it into a 10-part series.
The Roache-Turner brothers obviously love George Miller’s Mad Max trilogy, and the references are aplenty, including a Brian May-inspired score and a customised HiLux that roars like a V8 Jensen Interceptor and rides like the Nightrider’s stolen Special Pursuit on methane. But the lads have thrown in a brilliant twist. With petrol and gas turned inert by the passing comet, everything comes to a standstill, until Bazza discovers that zombie breath makes for a supercharged fuel alternative.
Aussies love nothing more than their cars, their sheds, their mates and, of course, their beer! And they all come to play in one hilarious scene in which Bazza and some DIY dudes suit up in some Ned Kelly-styled helmets to customise a HiLux into a zombie-powered muscle car, complete gas-powered harpoon. Watching the guys at work gave me shed envy – and a little homesick. Wonder if Miller’s got any of those in his big-budget reboot Mad Max: Fury Road?
Jay Gallagher makes for a likeable hero, in the Hugh Jackman/McGuyver mould, and Bianca Bradey’s Brooke might be the damsel in distress, but she’s no screaming sheila. Locked up and experimented on by a mad doctor (who could be Bruce Spence’s younger borther), in what looks like one of Dexter’s kill rooms, Brooke acquires telepathic powers that enable her to control zombies and turn the tables on her captors, resulting in a Ozploitation-styled WTF! Dead End Drive-In meets Patrick ending.
But my favourite character in his headrush of a zom-com is Benny, who ends up the film’s rightful hero. He’s co damn cool, and it’s also great to see an Aboriginal actor getting to play a great lead part, and one that’s not another stereotype. Hats off to the filmmakers for also shoe-horning in a bit of Australian Aboriginal mythology. Not seen that since The Shout and The Last Wave.
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from StudioCanal in the UK, and includes an audio commentary with the Roache-Turner brothers, behind the scenes featurette, 7 minute Teaser Scene, 2 crowdfunding videos, storyboards and deleted scenes.
You can also catch it on Film4 in the UK on Friday 28 October at 10.50pm
Posted on May 8, 2015, in Comedy, Horror, Must See, Must-See, Ozploitation and tagged Australian cinema, Australian comedy horror, Horror, Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner, Mad Max homage, Mad Max: Fury Road, Must See, Oz-pocalypse, Ozploitation, Studiocanal, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, Zombies. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.