Judging a book (movie) by its cover (picture on Netflix) is said to be a bad idea. In the case of Wyrmwood, that is absolutely spot on. The silly image on the poster along with a zany description would turn off the casual Netflix browser. Never fear Wiz Kids, your weekly Netflix Pick is here to save you from skipping over this gem.
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is a completely manic indie from Australia. Barry (Jay Gallagher) is a skilled mechanic who has the roughest morning of his life. He is forced to kill those close to him as they turn into the living dead. Barry ventures out into the world in search of his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey).
While Barry is fortunate enough to be armed and meet a group of allies; Brooke is kidnapped by a paramilitary organization. This strange military are capturing humans and zombies alike for The Doctor (Berynn Schwerdt). The creepy hazmat suit wearing doctor does experiments on Brooke that give her unique talents.
Wyrmwood was sold as Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead. The only comparison that may be more accurate is Mad Max meeting 28 Days Later. Wyrmwood is absolute mayhem and low budget filmmaking at its zenith. The insanity of Wyrmwood is why it works.
I’m sure I’ve said it on this site before. If you’ve ever talked to me about the current state of pop culture the term ‘zombie fatigue’ has definitely come out of my mouth. When a zombie movie as fresh and fun as Wyrmwood comes across, I have to take it back. Maybe zombie fatigue is just being tired of the romanticising of the undead or redundant uninspired ‘stories’ with the same tired tropes. There is nothing fatiguing about a gory thrill ride full of comedy and running on pure adrenaline.
Wyrmwood goes hard from the second the movie opens. The characters are zany, and intense with the exact right amount of comedy poured in. The acting is loud and in your face, but professional. It toes the line of scenery chewing without ever stepping over.
The zombie design is very well done with an added bonus I’ve not seen in a zombie movie before. Not only is this extra element unique but it also drives the plot forward, showing the strength of the script. Another bonus is Brooke’s storyline. She isn’t the damsel in distress needing rescue. She’s a solid character in her own right and becomes the coolest part of a movie that oozes cool.
The cinematography, editing, and sound editing are perfect. The script is strong. Simple, but strong. The actors are fully committed, and the effects are low key but outstanding. It all comes together with the snap cuts, and camera work that never stops moving. The quality and exposure of the film is becoming a trademark for those who pay attention. The legendary RED camera. RED is a high definition, digital camera small enough to be portable with a unique look and feel. This allows the handycam effect to be achieved at low cost with professional results. The best part is the RED avoids the shaky nauseating effect some films shot in a similar fashion bring on.
At a tight 98 minutes Wyrmwood doesn’t overstay its welcome. Turn your brain off and get into the pure enjoyment of one of the most insane movies you’ll ever see.
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead: 5/5
As a bonus if you love this movie, there is a TV series in the works: