Unless you’re a doomsday prepper Luddite who’s been living in a backyard shelter for the last 10-15 years, you may be familiar with the glut of Zombie entertainment. Since 28 Days Later introduced us to “fast” zombies, we’ve seen a glut of the undead shuffling across our screens. The Walking Dead gives us a weekly hour of post-apocalyptic grimness, the French and Germans have weighed in with movies and TV shows and there are more unwatchable, low-budget zombie movies than you can shake a rotten arm at. Australian writer/director Kiah Roache-Turner is the latest to step up to the plate with Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead. After a meteor shower starts turning people into crazed zombies, everyman mechanic Barry loads his wife and daughter into their car and they flee the city. Pretty soon, however, Barry is on his own. The only person he has left is his sister, who called him when people started to turn.
As Barry meets up with other survivors to make his way to his sister, she’s taken hostage by a crazed scientist in a mobile lab. He likes disco and injecting healthy people with zombie brain goo. What sets Wyrmwood apart from many other zombie movies is sort of a crazed take on the genre. While the movie doesn’t really delve into the cause of the epidemic – most zombie movies don’t – it provides a couple of interesting angles we haven’t seen before. The meteor shower has rendered all flammable fuels inert. However, the zombies exhale a combustible gas that makes for a new kind of external combustion engine. Day and night cycles also affect the zombies in different ways. Oh, and there’s also some zombie mind control.
But what really makes this stand out in the saturated zombie market is the mix of styles. There’s a definite Mad Max feel and healthy dollop of Evil Dead to the proceedings. Except for Barry’s family situation, the movie goes for a comic book tone that often borders on mad cap. Roache-Turner does a lot with a limited budget – using digital photography and decent gore FX to make a solid entry in the zombie genre.