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  Wyrmwood Running On BloodBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Kiah Roche-Turner
Stars: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Luke McKenzie, Yui Covich, Keith Agius, Catherine Terracini, Berynn Schwerdt, Meganne West, Cain Thompson, Beth Aubrey, Sheridan Harbridge, Damian Dyke
Genre: Horror, Action
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: When a comet passed over Australia, it broke up and a shower of meteors was the result, but they had further consequences that nobody expected. Take Benny (Leon Burchill), who had been in the Outback with his brother and friend when the celestial event occurred; they noted the free light show as they sat by the campfire, but come the next morning something strange was happening. The brother was acting very oddly, and looking terrible, so when Benny noticed his friend was lying on the ground with his brains spilled out he was naturally concerned, and opted to make a getaway. However, his sibling followed him doggedly - Benny was able to outwalk him at the slow pace he went - until he gave in and shot out one of his knees with a gun...

Just what the world needed, another zombie movie, and as with a number of these things it was close to an amateur production with the whole affair captured on weekends when the cast and crew were available. One spot of crowdfunding later (another familiar aspect to crafting these since the dawn of credit cards on the internet) and four years after it had been started, Wyrmwood, sometimes with the subtitle Road of the Dead added in case you didn't get the reference, was ready to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Well, unsuspecting aside from the folks who had put up a bit of money to finish the thing, and apart from all those viewers who had a pretty good idea of what a zombie flick entailed, which would be most of the audience.

The storyline had a group of various characters (though not too many, this was a low budget enterprise) waking up to a changed world, and gradually making their way to meet one another in the last act. Aside from Benny, who was novel in being an Aboriginal Australian in a horror movie that didn't involve sacred rituals being violated/implemented, we also had Barry (Jay Gallagher), a family man who breaks it to us gently in the first few seconds of his appearance that he's been forced to fire a nail gun into the heads of his wife and daughter. That's because they had turned into zombies, not because Barry was a raving madman. But in addition there's Brooke (Bianca Bradey), Barry's resourceful sister.

She was a photographer introduced staging a photo shoot in her garage, like you do, with a model face painted to look like a cartoon zombie, only soon for reasons we discover later she gets a funny look in her eyes and bites Brooke's assistant in the neck, thereby turning her into one of the undead too. It should be noted for purists that these zombies run, though also that they shamble, director Kiah Roche-Turner hedging his bets on the best of both of the latter day styles in the genre, which was either a way of satisfying each camp or proving he couldn't make up his mind about the subject. Soon, in one of the regrettable clich├ęs action movies fell back on (this was technically one of those too), Brooke has been kidnapped by soldiers in full protective gear.

Which sees her chained to a wall for a long stretch of the plot being experimented on by a mad scientist (Berynn Schwerdt) who dances to K.C. and the Sunshine Band apropos of nothing. In the meantime the now bereaved Barry and Benny meet up and discover from a bit of experimenting themselves that fuel of all kinds doesn't burn anymore, but what does is zombie blood. That's right, in the movie's biggest gimmick which sounds idiotic but turns out to be kinda fun our two heroes get a souped up vehicle in the Mad Max vein and start powering about the backroads in a zombie-powered attempt at scouting around for Brooke. OK, maybe there was more than one decent idea when she develops zombie controlling psychic abilities which helps in the grand finale against those military types, but for the most part Wyrmwood got by on verve and pacey setpieces, very much in the style of George Miller's action epics if not quite as accomplished. But the effort was plain to see, and finding at least a little new to say here was welcome. Music by Michael Lira.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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