This review for Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead contains spoilers.
If one was to take the films, Evil Dead 2, Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, and Road Warrior and throw them into a blender, it may very well end up something similar to a film entitled, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead.
The debut Australian film from Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner, which was filmed mostly on weekends over three and a half years, kicks off with a bang as some guys in heavy Mad Max like armor storm out of a barn to retrieve a vehicle in the midst of an army of zombies. Zombies are blasted left and right in head exploding affair as one man cries out, “Come on you F—ing zombies”! You definitely know what you’re getting into with this film right from the beginning. From here the film drops to a couple of flashbacks for Benny (Leon Burchill) and Barry (Jay Gallagher), which actually kind of loses me for a bit when cutting over to Barry’s sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey), but I’m quickly back on board when the film jumps back to Barry’s flashback scenes with his family and eventually on the hunt for his sister.
From the bloody madness of the early zombie films by Peter Jackson to the armored men and vehicles of the Mad Max films, the influences are evident throughout the film. At times the movement from the camera is very George Miller like (Director of Mad Max films), as in one scene the camera quickly follows along the pipe of an engine as it starts running or the viewer is treated to up close shots of a chain being pulled along the screen. As a fan of the Mad Max films, I loved every bit of this. The Sam Raimi connection can also be spotted when Barry, after killing a zombie in his kitchen, quickly gathers his tools and tightens his tool belt in a quick dramatic fashion similar to movements from Ash in Evil Dead.
Huge props though to the sound and music area as every movement is done in dramatic sounding fashion. Whether it be from the tightening of leather gloves, the swift turn of a head, or the piercing raptor like screams from the zombies themselves, I could not help but smile at every little bit of sound. For the music, there is one scene in particular which really stood out to me and I have to mention it. The scene involves Brooke, who eventually finds she can control the zombies with her mind and is given a dramatic score every time she uses this new gift. In the midst of an action sequence with the action music pumping, the score quickly changes to her dramatic score as she quickly uses her power for just a brief second, and then immediately cuts right back to the action music as the action continues. Crazy!
“We need to armor up . . . Big time”
There are some funny and cool lines within the film, but the film could have improved in the scripting area to smooth things out, especially in the flashback sequences in the beginning and perhaps some more depth to Brooke. However, I did enjoy the spark of cleverness in the end when Barry extinguishes the baddie with a match. The cast of the film does a fine job with what they are given. Jay Gallagher does a good job playing the tough guy and displaying the pain of losing his family, while Bianca Bradey, who is tied up most the time, is a spark when she is freed and uses her new powers. Props have to go out to the sadistic doctor as well, played by Berryn Schwerdt, who enjoys listening to KC and the Sunshine Band and dances around while working on his subjects.
Overall, it is the sound and directing that carries the film, and it is an enjoyable ride for those who are fans of the genre. So if you’re into the films already mentioned throughout the review, and you have not seen this film, definitely give it a shot. I don’t think you will be disappointed.