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Month of Horror 2015: World Edition – Australia: Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Editor’s Note: These posts originally appeared starting here on the AV Club *stares off wistfully*. They are being reposted for completionist sake as this annual series continued onto the AVCAD and now here. Also, forgive the writing for I was younger and dumber and these were written to appear in comments so don’t include pictures and are far shorter and less thorough than the series is now. They have been preserved as they were.

Month of Horror: World Edition
10/08/2015 – Australia: Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2015)
Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner

Time for what should have been yesterday’s movie and the most recent movie so far. Australian horror dates back to the 70’s Ozploitation movement which consisted of quite the variety of low budget films even beyond horror. The most notable of these in quality being the horror/thriller Wake in Fright in addition to other films such as The Cars That Ate ParisPatrick, and Long Weekend. In what feels like a broken record at this point, the 00’s have seen quite a run of notable horror films from the country though with the releases of TriangleThe Loved Ones, and Rogue.

Despite the genre being rather overused at this point (especially among low budget films), being the first of Zombie film of the month does give Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead a bit of an advantage. The zombies here are of the fast variety which I know angers purists but I have no problem with them. For better and worse the movie takes this fast thing to heart with it frequently feeling like the film is on fast forward. This fast pace makes the film more exciting, but I am just not a fan of the overly fast action cinematography that makes it tough to tell at times what is going on and the rest of the time just not looking great.

Wyrmwood’s contribution to the genre MINOR SPOILERS is the ability for an infected but not turned person (not entirely clear on the exact rule but it was some strange substance being injected) the ability to control other zombies, some smarter than normal zombies (on the level of the ones of say Land of the Dead), the use of zombie blood as gasoline (I get the explanation they used but it is still utter nonsense), END OF SPOILERS and the explanation for the common ground between the uninfected which gives the film just enough to set it apart from its many competitors. The film goes with two distinct storylines which don’t join up until late with the switch between them feeling jarring especially with the one being largely plotless, but they are both entertaining enough for it not to matter too much.

I wouldn’t call the film a horror comedy (it was more action than comedy), but there is a nice undercurrent of humor which keeps things going. The plot is a bit thin with the standard just keep escaping with the main female character spending much of the film bound up and incapable of talking or moving much with a entertainingly mad doctor in scenes that seek mostly to up the gore component (not a bad thing). The ending though is the best kind of madness as the SPOILERS AND ALSO FOR THE CRAZIES hints that our rapidly diminishing leads are really the bad guys by making containment that much harder and endangering the human race to save themselves (see also The Crazies), the movie instead embraces this and just fully commits to our lead becoming badass bad guys ambushing the soldiers with their zombie army and making me wish just more of the movie was this kind of thing END OF SPOILERS. The film is hardly a classic or redefining the zombie movie but it is a very entertaining low budget (without much of the wonky special effects that usually entails) film that kept me into it throughout.

Up Next: Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste representing New Zealand.

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