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Wyrmwood (2014)

DVD Cover (IFC Midnight)
Genres / Traits:
Action, Horror, Zombie Film, Post Apocalyptic
Director:
Kiah Roache-Turner Kiah Roache-Turner
Starring:
Jay Gallagher Jay Gallagher
Bianca Bradey Bianca Bradey
Leon Burchill Leon Burchill
Keith Agius Keith Agius
Berynn Schwerdt Berynn Schwerdt
User Lists:
> Zombie Classics

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: June 14, 2015
Regular viewers of the site may have noticed that I have been in a bit of a slump for a while now. I simply haven't had the motivation to watch and review stuff. There's no particular reason for this: there's still plenty of movies out there that I would like to see, and there's nothing more going on in my personal life than normal, but I simply haven't felt the urge to sit down with anything for quite some time. I used to watch anywhere from two to five movies per week, and lately, it's been about one per month. Again, there are plenty of movies out there that I would like to see, but none of them have grabbed me and really caught my attention in a "I have to see that" kind of way. That is, until I saw the Wyrmwood trailer last week. I saw that slick little trailer, and I immediately knew that a review would be written in the very near future... and here we are.

Speaking of that trailer, and I'll get into this more in a moment, it basically spells out the entire plot for you. If you've seen it, you don't need me to tell you what the movie is about. If you haven't, however, it concerns a zombie outbreak in rural Australia that occurs after numerous meteorites fall from the sky. Also, this isn't your typical zombie epidemic: these walking corpses have flammable blood, which is good, because all normal flammable liquids have been rendered useless. Why? Who knows, just roll with it. The film centers around Barry (Jay Gallagher), a family man who is trying to find his sister, his Aboriginal friend Benny (Leon Burchill) who is along for the ride, and of course, the aforementioned sister herself in Brooke (Bianca Bradey). As an added twist, Brooke has developed psychic powers that allows her to mentally control zombies after she endures some experiments by a twisted scientist (Berynn Schwerdt). Why? Again, just roll with it.

Barry and Benny are the main focus of the film, and we watch as they devise a corpse-crushing vehicle that also happens to run on zombie blood. The vehicles are straight out of Mad Max, hence the numerous comparisons elsewhere, and the barren wasteland that is Middle-of-Nowhere, Australia lends itself nicely to this idea. The two, along with a handful of supporting characters that float in and out of the storyline, set out to find Brooke, learn more about the outbreak, encounter some surprises, and of course, kill a lot of zombies. I mean, they really kill a lot of zombies.

So, let's get back to that trailer. This is more of a general gripe than a knock on the movie itself, but that trailer really gave away far too much for my liking. It's not like some trailer complaints, where they give away a key moment or two - instead, they basically give away the entire film in condensed form. Almost every twist, every plot arc, every little piece of the storyline is given away in that trailer, and it really hurt my personal enjoyment of the film. It's almost like they made two versions of the film: one that is a normal, ninety minute movie, and another two minute movie that is made for the ADD crowd. Again, this is a personal issue against the trailer and in no way affects the movie itself, but it bugged me enough that I felt the need to point it out. Keep this warning in mind.

Now, let's move on to the actual movie. It's a traditional zombie flick at its core, but it has more than enough originality to keep it fresh. I mean, a car powered by zombie blood? Flammable zombies? Psychic powers? You don't get this mixture in many zombie movies, so the change of pace was refreshing. It's also sprinkled liberally with Aussie humor, but not so much that I would consider it a full-fledged horror / comedy hybrid. There are jokes, and there are one-liners, but it never overrides the horror part too much. For me, that was a perfect blend. I enjoy the occasional chuckle, and I don't mind a couple of solid laughs, but I don't want to be taken entirely out of the horror mood while getting those - Wyrmwood straddled the line perfectly.

I was also a huge fan of the cast. When it comes to the leads, you really can't say anything negative about anyone. Jay Gallagher is excellent in the leading role, while Leon Burchill is cast perfectly as the jovial sidekick who can also handle a weapon. His character's introduction to Barry is worth the price of admission alone. Bianca Bradey is great as the ass-kicking sister, and her facial expressions really sell some scenes that could have been made to look silly if played by other actresses. Of course, I can't forget about the mad scientist played by Berynn Schwerdt... this guy was a scene-stealer, time and time again, and I could not get enough of him. Give this guy more work, pronto.

If you haven't figured it out already, Wyrmwood is getting a big recommendation from me. It's a great mix of old and new, enough so that zombie purists will enjoy it just as much as those of you who are looking for something fresh from the genre. It's heavy on the gore, with most of it looking great (a few spotty CGI sequences not withstanding), it's funny when it wants to be, tense when it needs to be, and it really deserves a spot on a few year-end lists. Yes, it's that good. Don't miss this one... just skip the trailer. 9/10.
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Crispy #1: Crispy - added 09/21/2015, 04:19 AM
Absolutely loved every second of it!
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