Wyrmwood (2014)

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner

This reminds me of Undead in several ways; apart from the whole Australian zombie movie thing, there’s also the whole kind of homemade aspect as well. In this case, the brothers Roache-Turner apparently set out to make their opus in six months for just $20,000; that actually turned out nearer $150,000 and four years. Persistence surely paid off, though, cos—and this is the other way it reminds me of Undead—it’s a shitload of fun. Albeit very thinly explained fun; if Undead‘s alien visitation was clear enough, the meteor shower that somehow triggers an outbreak of zombies in the sticks of Victoria—yeah, we’re going there again for a second night in a row—is somewhat more obscure (one character compares it to the falling star in Revelations, but God Almighty never appears at any point to confirm the theory). And we never do quite find out what the doctor’s experiments are really for, do we… What Wyrmwood may lack in motivation, though, it makes up for in spades with gore, character and overall vigour, and an occasionally black humour that kind of arises from what I can only call the “Australianness” of the thing. This is what separates it from Charlie’s Farm from last night; the latter could just as easily have been set in the US without even having to rewrite the script that much, whereas you couldn’t transplant this quite so easily cos there’s something specifically Australian about the characters, how they behave, how they speak (e.g. Frank’s deathless “this is bullshit”). Leon Burchill as Benny, goddamn. I want to see him in everything now (I now see he’s in Stone Bros, which I was needing to check out anyway). And though you can see various homages to other movies of this sort, this film’s original contributions to the genre—particularly the use of zombie blood as fuel—are delightful. More blase than most films about such niceties as plot, coherence, etc, but an awful lot of fun. Will be interested to see what the RTs do next…

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