This Summer, filmgoers have been treated to a trip back to the post apocalyptic world of Mad Max. The success, artistically and financially, of Fury Road may bring a new wave of this type of film that has laid dormant for several decades. In other words, the next Ozpocalypse may have begun. The thing is, it may have actually started last year.
Fantastic Fest 2014 brought films and filmmakers from around the world to Austin to showcase their works and talents. The films were as varied as the filmmakers themselves. One small Australian film, produced over a number of years by a core group of very talented, dedicated artists, came into town and stole the show.
WYRMWOOD : ROAD OF THE DEAD tells the story of a man(Barry), having lost everything dear to him, struggling to save his sister(Brooke) during the zombie apocalypse. Now this may sound like a lot of other zombie films that have been made and in less capable hands it could've been. Director Kiah Roache Turner , who wrote the film with his brother Tristan, wisely has taken their film and infused it with an Aussie sensibility that had been lacking from film since the times of the Mad Max films.
On his quest to save Brooke, Barry meets Benny, an aboriginal man who has also just suffered great losses of his own. What starts off rocky turns into one of the best "bromances" in recent film. Benny's quick wit, warmth, and humor help bring balance to balance Barry's smoldering anger and pain. This tag team knows that to survive you have to be well equipped and armed. With the help of some other survivors, they fashion armor, vehicles, and weapons that would make George Miller proud.
Brooke is a free spirited artist, who in the Aussie mold, is also resourceful and tough as nails. Captured by a shady millitary group, she is subjected to tests by the resident "mad scientist". No spoilers here, but what looks to be a terrible situation for our heroine takes a very different turn than what we've seen before in zombie films. Brooke becomes one of the best action movie heroines and arguably the best zombie movie heroine ever. Now fully realizing her "power", she fights to get back with her brother.
The quest for the siblings to reunite comes to a head on the Australian road. The chase scene with armored vehicles battling is thrilling, especially when you see that all of it was done "practically". That adventurous spirit runs through the entire film. The ending leaves an “open road” for the story to continue on. Hopefully the filmmakers choose to continue down it and bring us more stories.
WYRMWOOD has been described as "Mad Max meets Dawn Of The Dead". That description is true in a certain sense. There are zombies, yes. There are badass vehicles, weapons, armor, car chases, etc., yes. But there is so much more to this film. There is a heart, a humor, and a sense of fun present throughout the film that was severely lacking in recent zombie movies. WYRMWOOD : ROAD OF THE DEAD is now available on digital download and soon will be available on DVD and BLURAY.