Well. May is fast fading away, but if I can rouse my lazy butt, I do believe there’s still time for one or two reviews. 😉 So then… how about some Zombie Apocalypse action from the Land Down Under with the 2014 “Zombies meet Mad Max” mash-up, “Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead”? I’ve a rapidly growing “To Watch” pile teetering precariously on the stand next to our TV just aching to get viewed, but somehow I just knew this one would find it’s way right to the top when it finally arrived from the UK. Your favorite crazy Catlady loves her zombies after all…
Our synopsis? Easy peesie!! :“When a freak cometary shower strikes the Earth releasing toxic contamination that turns everyone around him—including his wife and daughter—into marauding cannibal zombies, everyman mechanic Barry arms himself to the teeth, soups up his car, and hits the road in order to rescue his sister from the hideous experiments of a deranged, disco-dancing mad doctor and his cadre of military goons.”
Flesh eating undead… evil insane villains with an unknown agenda… crazy road raging heroes on a mission of vengeance… and all that “Vrooom!! Vrooom!!” post-apocalyptic car action we all know and love. Sounds pretty darn good to me. (But then my tastes in movies do lean towards the utterly “craptastic” end of the spectrum… 😉 ) What are you waiting for, o’ Gentle Visitors? let’s get right to it then!!
I’ve been aware of this particular one for a while now and I figured I’d bump across the Aussie Region 4 DVD first, but as unlikely as it sounds, the UK Region 2 was my first crack at it. Yay for Amazon.UK!! 🙂 So, a quick import across the pond and I’m good. It’s due out in a few more places in the next few months… including here in the US… by jiminy I couldn’t wait for that. No way, no how.
Being an Australian film, I knew my sweet Carolyn would be glad to find out I wasn’t going to inflict yet another weirdly subtitled horror goodie on her. That always makes “movie nite” soooo much nicer for the both of us. 😉
So what’s the poop on this one then? Ok… Ok… the Zombie Apocalypse rolls around, this time brought on by all these cometary fragments showering down on poor ol’ earth and bringing with them some sort of nasty contamination that kills and reanimates all the people who breathe it in as those super fast crazy ass zombies we all love to hate. Well… it “zombifies” almost everybody that is. Wouldn’t really have much of a movie if it killed off everybody now would we? If you are lucky and happen to have A-negative blood type you are immune to whatever it is messing stuff up. As luck would have it, our film’s hero Barry (played by Jay Gallagher) is just such a person. Bad thing is… his wife Annie (played by Catherine Terracini) and little daughter Meganne (played by Meganne West) aren’t so blessed. When the outbreak starts and they try to make their getaway both of them soon turn and he’s forced to nailgun his loved ones to death. Ewwww… that’s the sort of nasty event almost designed to send a man over the edge, almost guaranteeing he’ll follow them to the Great Beyond out of sheer remorse. He almost does it too… except for one thing.
His sister Brooke (played by Bianca Bradey). She’s alive too… and also immune to the zombie contamination. Problem is… she’s been kidnapped by some sketchy paramilitary goons to be the subject of some fairly insane medical experiments at the hands of some wacky mad scientist guy (played by Berryn Schwerdt). With his sister in dire peril, our Barry postpones his date with the nailgun and teams up with some other survivors… first another lone survivor like himself, Chalker (played by Yure Covich) and later on with Aborigine Benny (played by Leon Burchill), and fellow mechanic Frank (played by Keith Agius). They decide to track down the army guys and free Brooke… but there’s a problem. The weird contamination that has created all the zombies has messed up fuel sources. Nothing will run on gasoline, kerosene, or diesel of any kind. In fact… none of those compounds will even burn anymore for some goofy reason. But… in true exploitation fashion, our heroes discover that zombies are super flammable… and breathe a gas that burns like the dickens. It isn’t long before our industrious trio knocks together a good and proper Mad Max style armored truck that runs on… you guessed it… zombie power. here’s where things get fun… and super goofy… as they roar around the outback in search of the soldiers and their mobile electric laboratory truck.
Ummm… Ok… but then what the heck does mad Scientist Guy want with Brooke? Is he working on some sort of cure? Trying to come up with an antidote? Heck if we figured it out. In true Mengele style, his secret “experiments” seem to mostly consist of listening to bad disco music and injecting Brooke’s brain with honking big syringes full of freshly harvested zombie brain goo. Yep… it’s pretty icky. But… as a trade off for all the bondage and terrible medical care, at least eventually Brooke sorta “mutates” and becomes “half zombie”… pretty darn immune to being shot or stabbed…. and able to use some sort of crazy telepathy to summon and control other zombies. Ooooohhh!! You just know that’ll be handy….
Yes… yes… it’s a given that eventually Barry and the boys will show up towards the end of the movie to save our girl Brooke… There will be some fighting… most everybody will die… lots of zombies will run amok… our crazy Doctor will get his… and then feisty brother and spunky almost-zombie sister will reunite to save the day. No surprises there. Heck, they even set things up for the eventual “sequel’ that you know will show up in a year or so. It’s just that kind of “by-the-numbers” sort of movie.
That would tend to make you think I didn’t dig this one all that much. Nothing could be further than the truth. As simple lil’ unpretentious films go, this one ain’t half bad. It certainly was a better film by far than “Zombie Fight Club”…. But… in much the same way, it suffers from some of the same flaws as that film too. What we basically have here is a number of really neat zombie ideas all strung together to make a whole story. Unfortunately… while a lot of those ideas are real gems… the overall film feels like it’s just that. A bunch of unrelated ideas that only happen to share the same script. That and the usual lack of any real attempt to explain almost any of those plot elements. That was the most annoying thing for this wee Catgirl. I mean…. what exactly was the comet all about? Did it kill all the animals in the world too? Or just people? And how come the Mad Science guy was all ready for it with his mobile lab and goon squad? Was there an announcement in “Popular Mad Science” magazine? Even Carolyn noticed that one…. and she wanted to know why… if the crazy Doc knew it was going to happen beforehand… where were the regular army guys? You know… the “no-so-nutty” and evil ones? Wouldn’t they have been roaming around the countryside in their own snazzy electric jeeps doing whatever army guys do when the shit hits the fan? Apparently not. Oooohhh…. and why does Aborigine Benny… who’s supposed to be immune… turn into just another crazy cannibal zombie when bitten? I though the zombie thing was an airborne contaminant you had to breathe not a virus or disease. Why at least, doesn’t he become a “smart” zombie… like Brooke? Heck if I know….
Still… even with these gaping holes in common sense, there a real energy and wacky vibe here to that mostly works. It’s an Apocalypse I could believe Crocodile Dundee would somehow inhabit. It’s screwy… it’s gory…. it’s hallucinatory and strange… but it’s certainly fun.
Even with these flaws… I still had some fun watching it all. I’d even probably give that “sequel” a look if it eventually materializes with the further adventures of Barry and Brooke. I just hope next time out they try a wee bit harder to make it all more sensible. Or at least lay down the rules of their version of whole “zombie apocalypse” and then stick to them. A little consistency goes a long way towards making even the silliest notions work.
So I suppose then I have to honestly give “Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead” a respectable middle of the road 3 Meows out of 5. It’s a first film for Australian writer/producer brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner so I’m inclined to cut them some slack. They obviously like zombie films …. that’s easy to see. There’s even some real raw talent to in the way they steered this odd little crowdfunded film into being as good as it is too, and I’m thinking with a little experience, these guys might just have some interesting ideas for next time out. Time will tell.
Should you want a look, this one is pretty easy to find as well… and along with the Region 2 UK release, it’s becoming available in pretty much another half dozen countries and Regions in the next few months or so. So… Gentle Visitors, if zombies are your thing, it’s definitely worth a quick look see. 😉
Trailer? Yep… with all the over-the-top crazy Zombie action you might want… enjoy!! 😉