Monday 20 October 2014

WYRMWOOD - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Canadian Premiere Toronto After Dark FF 2014

Wyrmwood (2014)
Dir. Kiah Roache-Turner
Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The new Australian living dead chiller-thriller Wyrmwood might, at first glance, look and feel like a derivative post-apocalyptic zombie picture, but there's nothing run-of-the-mill about it. Constructed with solid craft, spewing globs of gallows humour, walloping your senses, well, uh, walloping you senseless with bowel-loosening jolts, us what all adds up to a rollicking good time.

Have I mentioned all the inspiring cold-cocking scares that slide you to the edge of your seat and onto the floor?

Have I mentioned that the picture offers up a kick-ass babe of the highest order?

No? Well, consider it mentioned, you happy Geek mo-fos!

With plenty of loving homages to George Miller's Mad Max pictures and George Romero's Dead extravaganzas, helmer Kiah Roache-Turner and his co-scribe Tristan Roache-Turner, serve up a white-knuckle roller coaster ride through the unyielding Australian bushland as a family man (who's had to slaughter his family when they "turn" into zombies) and a ragtag group of tough guys, equip themselves with heavy-duty armour, armament and steely resolve to survive.

Blasting through hordes of flesh-eating slabs of viscous decay, they careen on a collision course with a group of Nazi-like government soldiers who are kidnapping both zombies and humans so a wing-nut scientist can perform brutal experiments upon them. The family man's insanely well-built, athletic and gorgeous sister is nabbed by the fascist egghead which allows for a harrowing rescue attempt and a bevy of scenes involving our babe in lethal fighting mode.

The movie has two very cool variations on zombie lore - one, a way for humans to telepathically communicate and subsequently control the zombies and two, the handy discovery that zombie blood can be used as petrol for the heroes' souped-up fighting truck.

Roache-Turner proves himself a formidable talent. He employs very little herky-jerky action and keeps things in nice clean shots which allow the action and violence to play out stunningly (including a few harrowing chases). He manages, on what feels like a meagre budget, to put numerous blockbusting studio films of a similar ilk to shame.

It delivers the goods and then some.

You'll feel a bit like you've seen Wyrmwood before, but as it progresses, it gets increasingly more intense and original. It's also great seeing aboriginal characters playing heroes and zombies, adding a unique flavour to the proceedings. So hold on tight to your fur-lined Aussie Akubra hats and prepare for the blood-splashing ride of your life.


Wyrmwood opens theatrically on June 19, 2015 in Toronto at the Yonge-Dundas Cinemas via Raven Banner and Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada. The picture premiered at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.