No one can say precisely when the zombie comedy sub-genre first appeared. Some say it is as old as the zombie genre itself and some that it first emerged in the eighties. However, one thing is certain, its revival started with Shaun of the Dead, released in back in 2004, with a couple of great movies being released each year. Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is one of those rare zombie comedies with an original script and very refreshing ideas, proving that there are still a lot of talented film-makers out. It reminded me of another Australian zombie horror Undead, of now already famous Spierig brothers (Daybreakers, Predestination, Jigsaw) and Down Under horror cinema in general.
This honest, creative and above all very loving approach gave us movies like Wolf Creek, The Loved Ones, The Babadook, Rogue and many others. I intentionally didn’t mention Peter Jackson masterpieces Bad Taste and Braindead since he’s from New Zealand (now say New Zealand in New Zealand accent). Shot over the period of four years and with a budget of just $1.4 million, everything in this movie was meticulously thought out, shot and acted. It looks great, with visuals that will blow your brains out and a lot of gore. The special effects stood the test of time and even five years later, they look really modern and believable.
This is not some splatter, low-budget blood-fest but a full-bloodied zombie movie with a distinctive Aussie vibe. You get this from a very energetic and intriguing opening sequence that transitions into a story told by Benny, one of the greatest characters in the movie. Each character is unique and feels very authentic, from happy-go-lucky Benny to always sullen and brooding mechanic Barry. This creates a great dynamic between them and adds to the overall atmosphere.
After a meteor shower hits Earth and turns most of the human population into zombies, a band of survivors makes its way through the wasteland that is now Australia…
Wyrmwood presented several fresh and original ideas that are so creative and just god-damn fucking fun that you can’t help but smile while watching them develop on screen. This is what happens when someone puts a lot of effort and thought into a project that he loves. And not only him, but apparently everyone involved because they were all great. The casting was fucking phenomenal and although screen-time for some characters is very limited you will be able to remember them for a long time.
Speaking of characters, there’s this strong masculine vibe throughout the movie that is counterbalanced somewhat by our one main heroine but still has an overwhelming influence on Wyrmwood. And I am not bitching, on the contrary, let’s say just noticing. Fast-paced and filled with juicy action, this is one hell of a thrill ride and you even get Mad Max vibes for free. There’s not a dull moment and our gang is constantly either cracking jokes or doing something that will make you laugh.
This took its toll on the general story that seems a bit directionless and like a series of fun incidents, but the atmosphere and the heart of the movie help with this immensely. Rarely do you say that a zombie movie has a heart. With a setup as great as this one, a sequel is a logical next step and it seems that one is in the works. Actually, there seems to be an entire series in the works, at least judging from a trailer released back in 2017. All we can do now is to wait and hope…