Thursday, 8 October 2015

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead: A review and why you should watch it

So I came across Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead on Amazon Prime. Basically my fiancée had gone to work and my daughter was out with friends, Prime had been left logged in and I wanted something to kill a few hours of me being on my own. I had read nothing about this film other than the little blurb wrote on Prime while I was flicking through the movies. The great thing with these movie subscription type services is that you pay whatever amount it is per month and that covers you for the films you watch, bearing in mind last time I found myself in a rental shop they wanted £2 a film if the film was made in the last sort of three years so that means you only have to watch about three semi recent films to make something like Prime worthwhile.

So I sat down to Wyrmwood with an attitude of, watching this is not really going to cost me anything and if it sucks I can turn it off at any second with no sense of buyers remorse or cash wasted, the very second it delivers less than I want I can turn it off. Now this is somewhat of a double aged sword for films because it means that you might take a chance on something you otherwise wouldn't if you were having to buy it or physically rent it but it also means you don't feel any need to push yourself past a boring intro, or see if a dull film gets better latter on, you can instead shut it off the second its not registering with your expectations and move on to something else. So how far did I get through Wyrmwood? I got to the very end, not only that I could certainly see myself watching it again.

Will you like Wyrmwood as much as I did? Well do you like Ozplotation style films featuring an apocalypse like the original MadMax? If so stick with me and answer the next question. Do you like Zombies and zombie films? In simple terms what we have here is the illegitimate love child of Mad Max and Dawn of the Dead. This is something I thought when watching it and then as soon as I had finished and I looked up more info on  the film I noticed this was a comparison the makers had made themselves, to the extent that they had put it on posters and other promotional material for the movie. This doesn't mean it is without its own ideas though. I would say more but I don't want to spoil them.

So I will lay out some of the plot but I am purposly going to drop off mid film and leave you to watch it if you desire after reading this to find out the rest. A Mechanic called Barry who is the central character of the film lives in the Australian outback with his wife and daughter.

Barry's sister is attacked in her garage photo studio by her model and her assistant, who have suddenly become zombies. She handles herself well and manages to get up in the rafters of the building. She calls Barry and warns him to get himself and his family out of the city. So Barry his wife and daughter all put on gas masks and fight their way to the family car. Unfortunately his family members turn and Barry is forced to kill them.

Chalker, another survivor, finds Barry and tries to talk to him but all Barry is intrested in is trying to get Chalkers gun so he can kill himself. Chalker knocks barry out and when Barry comes round he asks Chalker to take him to his Sisters studio, During this time however a military unit has taken his sister captive in the back of a truck that serves as a mobile lab for a strange overly eccentric scientist. Chalker's truck stops working leaving him and Barry to continue on foot. Benny, another survivor, mistakenly kills Chalker. At this point after apologising and offering Barry his shotgun. Benny and Barry team up and come upon a garage staffed by Frank and his assistant. Frank explains that all flammable liquids have become useless and that this will be why Chalkers truck stopped working. There garage is surrounded by zombies so this is when it becomes time to strap on every piece of armour they can find from shoulder pads to crash helmets and hocky masks and get ready to take on the zombies.

I was very surprised to learn that this was the feature film directorial debut of its director Kiah Roache-Turner, it seemed so good and well directed to me that this really blew me back especially when you factor in its $160,000 budget. It does have a very Mad Max feel to it and I think if you like either the Mad Max films or zombie movies then you should really give this film  a crack. I am now about to say something which I know would get me shot in some places but I actually found this film more enjoyable than the latest Mad Max Fury Road. It was less serious, less up its own arse and more focused on fun. I know that some people seem to love Fury Road as being the greatest thing ever while others see it as some kind of Femi-Nazi propaganda, but personally I just saw it as a big explosion festivel that showed you lots and explained very little leaving you to take minor grunts and looks as if they were the deepest of character development. People would argue that it provided you a world full of ideas to think about and make flesh in your own mind but then the same can be said about WyrmWood which itself provides a whole world of possibilities while also explaining more while still leaving enough blanks to let your mind run wild with speculation.

It was originally supposed to have a one night only theatrical release in Australia, opening on 74 screens, but due to an overwhelming response and lots of sold out sessions across the country its run was extended for weeks in some cinemas. This is a film which through its quality and its fans enjoyment managed to push its self rather than being pushed along by a ridiculously high promotional budget. I think this alone tells you why you need to see this film.

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