Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

03/14/2024 07:46

Film: Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

Year: 2014

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner

Writers: Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner

Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey and Leon Burchill



This was a movie that I was intrigued by. It came out before I was watching new horror movies so I missed it then. There was a sequel that came out years ago now that I avoided due to not having seen this one. It didn’t necessarily seem like a top of list contender. Now for January on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast, I like to use a randomizer to select what movie to watch. This movie’s sequel came up. The first week of January can be difficult to get a new release for the year so it worked out to watch this and the follow up as a double feature.

Synopsis: a talented mechanic prepares to battle his way through hordes of flesh-eating monsters after his sister is kidnapped on the eve of a zombie apocalypse.

We start this off with a couple guys talking. What we will learn is that we’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. These two are telling their story of what led them to be where they are currently. Barry (Jay Gallagher) is angry and for good reason. We see him as he came home from work to his wife and daughter. I believe his wife is Annie (Catherine Terracini) and his daughter is Meganne (Meganne West). They go to bed and he gets a phone call from his sister needing his help. Their daughter also comes into their bedroom to alert them that there’s a man in their kitchen.

Barry’s sister is Brooke (Bianca Bradey) and she is at a photo shoot in a garage. One of the women gets turned into a zombie and attacks them. We see that blood can infect if it gets into an orifice or soft tissue. Brooke gets into the rafters to survive.

The other survivor with Barry is Benny (Leon Burchill). This takes place in Australia so I take it that he is Aboriginal. How these two run into each other is a bit of comedy and tragedy. Barry hit the road and things happen to his family. Benny is afraid and makes a horrific mistake that ends up with murder. Brooke is saved by soldiers, led by the captain who is played by Luke McKenzie.

In this world, something else odd has happened. It seems like gasoline no longer works. They soon realize though that the zombies are breathing a gas of sorts that is flammable. Barry navigates this world to save his sister before it is too late. There is an interesting change that comes over her as she gets infected as well.

That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that this has an interesting world to take place in. I like what we’re doing. This is taking mythology for zombies that is already set up and doing their own thing with it. That is something I appreciate even if not all of it works for me. This also feels like it is taking a sub-genre that was made popular in Australia and incorporating elements from there.

Where I’ll start then with delving deeper is with the zombie lore. This is taking a concept from the Book of Revelations with the title and something that happens to start. They are using the idea of wyrmwood, which is supposed to be a virus that comes to Earth from the stars. There is a meteor shower in the beginning of this movie. Wyrmwood was supposed to wipe out humanity, which here turns them into zombies. Now from this, they are moving fast at night. I figured they always would be. During the day, they slow down and produce this gas. I don’t love this last idea, but I understand how it works in the framework of the story. This gas is used to power machines once the survivors realize this. It also explains why they move fast at night. There is thought put into the lore so I appreciate that.

It is from here that I want shift over then to what happens with Brooke. She is rescued by soldiers. They are called into action when things go down. There is a doctor, played by Berynn Schwerdt, who is studying the zombies on the fly. That is something that works as it is in line with things like The Sadness or Day of the Dead. I could also see the government and the soldiers becoming villainous as well. This gives a reason for Barry to keep fighting and stay alive to save her before it is too late.

There is something that happens with Brooke that I don’t know if it fully works. She gets infected, but not in a traditional way. This virus does seem to be airborne, which I like. That adds another layer of tension to avoid becoming infected. She becomes superhuman though and gains powers that would allow her to be part of the X-Men. It makes more sense for the sequel, which I’ve seen at the time of writing this review. I’m glad this doesn’t take over the story too much here for this one.

The only other part of the story will also take me to a subgenre that this falls into. We got a road movie, which makes sense with what the tagline is for this movie, Road of the Dead. I do love that. This borrows elements from the Road Warrior/Mad Max movies. We are getting makeshift armor created to prevent being bitten. There are also vehicles that aren’t traditional and like you’d see in those movies. I did like how this gets used here as it adds something else to make this different.

Where I want to go then would be with the acting. I thought that Gallagher was solid here as this lead who loses his family and it sours life for him. That feels real. He doesn’t give up though since he still has Brooke to fight for. I did like how his character fits into the story. Bradey is quite attractive and I also like her ordeal. She has interesting changes that come over her character which she manages well with her performance. Burchill is solid as a sidekick character. Other than that, the rest of the cast rounded this for what was needed. Our heroes meet odd characters along the way that push them forward. Also, I’ll credit the actors who take on playing zombies as well.

All that is left is filmmaking. I thought that cinematography here is good. We capture the area that our characters move through. I’m glad that they kept this to the urban or just outside of those areas. Normally it would be desert, or at least that’s how most Australian films feel. The effects then are hit or miss for me. When they go practical like the look of the zombies or the blood and gore from attacks, I’m there for it. We do get CGI that doesn’t hold up. The gas coming out of them is part of that. I understand why, but I wasn’t a fan. Other than that, the soundtrack fit what was needed.

In conclusion, I thought this was a fun popcorn movie. I like what we are getting a zombie movie that has its own twist since this is a tired genre. The lore this set up was good. The acting was solid. This is well-made. We got action that was good. The elements of the road movie are good. My only gripes would be with the CGI. Other than that, I enjoyed my time here. It doesn’t have a lot of depth to the story, but it doesn’t necessarily need it either with what it gives on the screen. If you want to see a different type of zombie movie, I’d recommend giving this a watch.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10