2014 / Director. Kiah Roache-Turner.
Review by Jarret Gahan.
When a mysterious meteor shower turns three quarters of a regional community into ravenous flesh-eaters whilst simultaneously reanimating the dead, the paths of three strangers are thrust together. Barry, Benny & Frank, through their varying degrees of tragedy, have a unified sense of survival and with a plan to rescue Barry's sister Brooke from a classified government research facility, they have purpose.
After the deluge of z-films in the past decade, particularly zom-coms, it's refreshing to witness one that takes a distinct approach to a dying subgenre. By bridging elements of a road movie with motifs of the aforementioned subgenre and several unique twists of its own, WYRMWOOD proves to be a varied and engaging ride. Unapologetically Australian in its colloquial dialogue, true-blue characters and scenic landscapes, the film teeters on stereotype but manages to efficaciously utilize them to drive both the narrative and humour in a manner that separates this film from the myriad of its ilk.
While successfully forging its own identity, WYRMWOOD also plays as a love letter to the subgenre with many an interlaced reference throughout, including a non-too-subtle nod to the vastly underrated RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3. Influence is non-exclusive to subgenre, with digitally altered colour schemes in key sequences to create hyper-real visuals that mimic those of a comic book while tribute is also paid to Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD TRILOGY through sharply cut prelude-to-action montages.
It's evident that WYRMWOOD is work of passion for first-time feature filmmaker Kiah Roache-Turner, as while it's rough around the edges, almost guerrilla-like at times, it gusts with a love and deep understanding of not only genre but the very medium itself.