We had to wait eight long years to get a sequel to one of the best independent zombie movies of this century. Yes, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is that good and you must check it out. Wyrmwood Apocalypse is a solid sequel picking up the story right after the events from the original. It’s much more action-oriented featuring better production values and cinematography. Think of it as a scaled-down Mad Max but with zombies. This means that something had to go and that was character development.
The pacing is frenetic and action juicy, just the way I like it. And since the whole movie is happening sometime after the zombie apocalypse we will get cool improvised weapons and heavily modified cars. After all, Wyrmwood Apocalypse is an Australian movie directed by Kiah Roache-Turner and written by him and his brother Tristan. In the meantime, they put out another interesting horror comedy Nekrotonic that didn’t sit too well with me on the first viewing. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out.
Just like this one and the original, it also features original ideas and an entertaining atmosphere. Something that’s a rarity when it comes to zombie movies. All three movies have this authentic aesthetic that’s a bit exaggerated but still kind of believable. I mean, Wyrmwood Apocalypse opens with a scene where our zombie heroine smashes someone’s head with blood splattering all over the screen. Now, that’s an opening I like. Especially if I already drank a couple of beers and need something to keep my attention.
The zombie apocalypse came and went leaving the countryside of Australia populated with hordes of bloodthirsty zombies. All of them want to eat your brains and cannot control their urges. All but one. Her name is Brooke and she almost killed Maxi and Grace, two sisters roaming the wasteland. They run away from her but end up meeting an even more dangerous man. A soldier living alone in his small outpost and looking for redemption.
The decision to go straight for the jugular and forgo almost all character development may have been a costly one. I say this because Wyrmwood Apocalypse didn’t receive so much attention and love as the original. However, I really liked it for what it is, a refreshing no-bullshit zombie action movie with a heart. I also loved their commitment to Aboriginal actors, although I think that no one can replace the man, the legend, The Motherfucking Benny.
Luckily, Luke McKenzie was great as the survivor Rhys along with Shantae Barnes-Cowan and Tasia Zalar. The world-building could’ve been better as they presented a lot of interesting ideas. Crazy scientists, military experiments, and secret bases have all been done before but here they have something authentic about them. If I may be so bold as to offer some advice for young Kiah and Tristan: do a little buildup before your juicy scene.
If you just cut to a guy using a minigun to mow down incoming zombies it feels like wasted potential. Just add a line Jimmy here has been using his six-shooter to get rid of some zombies or something like that. Old Painless is a perfect example of a great conceptual build-up. The same goes for the finale and that big fight that I feel came out of nowhere. I sincerely hope we will get the third part of this already cult franchise. Until then we have these two movies that are perfect for watching back to back.