Film Review – Wyrmwood Apocalypse (2021)

This hyperkinetic and gloriously gory sequel mixes new ideas with familiar tropes to formulate a fun and frenetic time for Zombie aficionados.

The Aussie outback is awash with methane breathing undead. Hard as nails soldier Rhys is capturing survivors alive to pass on to the mysterious Surgeon in what he believes to be a research program to end the infection. But when he crosses paths with Barry and his zombie hybrid sister Brooke, Rhys realises the Surgeon’s true motives are less than altruistic.

Joining forces with First Nations person Maxi, they launch an all-out attack on the very people Rhys has been working for to rescue Maxi’s imprisoned sister and bring the evil Surgeon to account.

Brothers Kiah & Tristan Roache-Turner return to the zombified world of Wyrmwood after an 8-year hiatus. Directing and writing respectively much of the DIY charm of the original has become obscured by a bigger dry ice budget. Instead, we get a near relentless stream of knockabout violence and shameless references to Evil Dead, Mad Max, and most notably 1993’s Return of the Living Dead 3.

Wyrmwood Apocalypse is one of those movies that looks like it was a blast to make and the perky enthusiasm and creative pluck translate well into audience enjoyment. It has a bonkers internal logic of its own that is more concerned with making trouble than making sense and that is endearing.

In terms of originality, the movie is a bit of an enigma. For every act of brassy genre hijacking, there is a flourish of imaginative flair to counterbalance it. For instance, many undead fans will recognise the Day of the Dead origins of the pole and noose catchment apparatus. Yet, the zombie-powered Wallace and Grommitesqe contraptions that festoon our antihero’s living compound are inspired.

It is this homebrew of cultural checkpoints and cheeky repurposing of creature lore that gives Wyrmwood Apocalypse a fresh bite at the decaying corpse of the zombie movie.

Clearly invested in the homespun ethos and on-screen chaos the cast is exemplary. Throwing their lot enthusiastically in with the kitchen sink approach of the director. Standouts are Nick Boshier who is completely deranged as the Surgeon and Bianca Bradey channelling her inner B-Movie diva as the semi-zombified Brooke.

The movie is shot and edited beautifully, utilising an earthy palette, expressive lighting, and dynamic cuts to bring intensity to the bloodshed. The sound design is also punching above its weight with every gunshot, flesh rip, and bone shatter rendered crystal clear for our delectation.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is far more early Peter Jackson splatter slapstick than vintage social commentary George A. Romero. What is important is that is the case by design not accident. As such, this slick and spunky slice of Ozploitation will find a welcoming home among lovers of bitey butchery and low-fi modified apocalypse car carnage.

★★★

Zombie Horror/ Action Thriller| Australia| 2021 |18| 16th May 2022 (UK) | Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital HD  | 101 Films| Dir. Kiah Roache-Turner| Jay Gallagher, Bianca Brady, Luke McKenzie

 

This review is a reposting of our 2022 Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow review | Original review link