In a world where many movie snobs are determined to bury the zombie craze around every corner, we still seem to find interesting and fun movies in the genre every year, usually coming from countries other than the US. Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is an Australian production running with some fresher bodies and a couple of cool ideas, it’s also a sequel to Wyrmwood: Path of the Dead, which I didn’t realize until after the movie started. The trailer was enough to sell me without further investigation, capturing a sense of surreal absurdity and that feeling of being stoned after the end of society, which the film continued. No one really has to see the other Wyrmwood first, but now I’m definitely going to check it out.
We start by following Rhys, even if he doesn’t feel like the main character, and are given a glimpse into his routine and clever setup for a makeshift bunker. It’s important to eat right and stay fit during the zombie apocalypse, so why not train with some of them when they can’t hurt you, or use a couple of bike dead to help generate electricity? It’s a great introduction to tell us a bit of information without making it feel too important. He appears to be a bounty hunter of some sort, capturing others and turning them over to a military group that is supposed to be looking for a cure, and anyone who has seen some of these can instantly tell that things are about to head south. this soldier
Rhys has some cool weapons that get used a lot. He looks like Bane in all his gear and drives a rad truck. The soldier also has a few surprises up his sleeve for when he gets into trouble, proving that he is quite capable of surviving this dark and ghastly version of the world. However, this particular task, bringing in someone who is a half-zombie hybrid, quickly sets him on a dangerous path when he chooses to do the right thing. That’s the introduction of two other characters, but then two more join in to form a whole team of angry kickers. Soon it’s an ensemble cast with everyone having their moments. There’s a weird feeling that these characters needed more time, but some of them were established in the first movie, and it turns out Rhys had an evil twin brother who was in that one too. That may sound like a lot, but it’s not hard to keep most of this in line with the dialogue.
Most of the acting in the film is very well done and the lines feel natural, or at least appropriate for the characters. There aren’t many jokes, but a bit of humor lands firmly in most scenes. All the performers seemed to be having a good time when the cameras were rolling and it shows with the effort they put into it. The villains are almost archetypes for the genre, but the passion and exaggerated energy is contagious, easy. hate. I love how the underground part of the base is lit up in colors to help show off the craziness of The Surgeon. It also makes this setting stand out against other Australian landscapes and allows some of the set pieces to give the audience clues as to how far the world has come.
The plot may not be incredibly strong, but the movie was doing interesting things within it. Even though the pace was fast, I found myself wanting to build more worlds on various topics: how they used zombies for fuel, the logistics of pills and serums, more on the vials of blood that kept hybrids calm, and how some of these weapons and vehicles were manufactured. This doesn’t make up for what’s lacking in the main story, but I’m interested in the property as a series.
Once all the pieces are in place, it becomes clear what the third act will be. Up to this point, the movie has had some weird tonal shifts, where at times the world seems incredibly serious and sad, and at other points it’s humorous and a little wacky, but never silly. It stays coloring within the lines for the most part, but by the time the final act comes around, a lot of that is thrown away. Hybrid zombies get to show off their powers, the mad scientist uses a computerized undead champion to fight his battles along with cheesy villain music, and the underground facility turns into a slaughterhouse right before the inevitable self-destruct sequence. It’s all wonderfully funny and a little crazy, but every moment is at least entertaining. For fans of zombies, gore, gore, and ridiculous results, it’s hard to imagine wanting much more.
it was like seeing army of the dead if it had a smaller budget with better bad guys and stricter world building. My only real problem with Wyrmwood: Apocalypse, if there is one, it would be the two characters who sacrificed themselves only to show up again at the end for a taunt. However, this is an enjoyable movie and it makes me think that I should see more Ozploitation movies in the future. It won’t redefine the genre or cure zombie fatigue, but there’s a pulse there for anyone looking to have a good time.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7.5 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but may not be to everyone’s taste.