Taking inspiration from DIY upstarts like Peter Jackson and Robert Rodriguez, the makers of this sparky, efficient slice of zombiefied Aussie exploitation shot their film over months of weekends, utilising friends as cheap labour and undead extras. Their efforts have paid off – ‘Wyrmwood’ played to whooping home crowds, and has the dubious distinction of being Australia’s most pirated film of 2015.
Fully aware that even horror fans are approaching peak zombie – and that their production budget could never match TV’s ‘The Walking Dead’ – writer-director brothers Tristan and Kiah Roache-Turner have opted for the time-honoured ‘chuck everything at the wall and see what sticks’ method of splatter filmmaking.
So their zombies don’t just shamble, grunt and feast on flesh, they also have flammable blood, methane-gas breath and psychokinetic powers. All of which makes life hell for hulking hero Barry (Jay Gallagher), who’s on a last-ditch mission to save his sister (Bianca Bradey) after she’s kidnapped by mysterious government forces.
Despite the fast-and-loose approach to zombie folklore, there’s nothing massively original here – limbs fly, blood spurts and both zombies and humans are despatched in a variety of moderately inventive, generally disgusting ways. But it’s put together with wit and gusto, solidly scripted and convincingly acted, with a neat line in quick-cut, slam-bang action. You could do far worse for a boozy Friday night out.