Monday, 20 October 2014
WYRMWOOD - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Canadian Premiere Toronto After Dark FF 2014
Dir. Kiah Roache-Turner
Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill
Review By Greg Klymkiw
The new Australian living dead chiller-thriller Wyrmwood might, at first glance, look and feel like a derivative post-apocalyptic zombie picture, but there's nothing run-of-the-mill about it. Constructed with solid craft, spewing globs of gallows humour, walloping your senses, well, uh, walloping you senseless with bowel-loosening jolts, us what all adds up to a rollicking good time.
Have I mentioned all the inspiring cold-cocking scares that slide you to the edge of your seat and onto the floor?
Have I mentioned that the picture offers up a kick-ass babe of the highest order?
No? Well, consider it mentioned, you happy Geek mo-fos!
With plenty of loving homages to George Miller's Mad Max pictures and George Romero's Dead extravaganzas, helmer Kiah Roache-Turner and his co-scribe Tristan Roache-Turner, serve up a white-knuckle roller coaster ride through the unyielding Australian bushland as a family man (who's had to slaughter his family when they "turn" into zombies) and a ragtag group of tough guys, equip themselves with heavy-duty armour, armament and steely resolve to survive.
Blasting through hordes of flesh-eating slabs of viscous decay, they careen on a collision course with a group of Nazi-like government soldiers who are kidnapping both zombies and humans so a wing-nut scientist can perform brutal experiments upon them. The family man's insanely well-built, athletic and gorgeous sister is nabbed by the fascist egghead which allows for a harrowing rescue attempt and a bevy of scenes involving our babe in lethal fighting mode.
The movie has two very cool variations on zombie lore - one, a way for humans to telepathically communicate and subsequently control the zombies and two, the handy discovery that zombie blood can be used as petrol for the heroes' souped-up fighting truck.
Roache-Turner proves himself a formidable talent. He employs very little herky-jerky action and keeps things in nice clean shots which allow the action and violence to play out stunningly (including a few harrowing chases). He manages, on what feels like a meagre budget, to put numerous blockbusting studio films of a similar ilk to shame.
It delivers the goods and then some.
You'll feel a bit like you've seen Wyrmwood before, but as it progresses, it gets increasingly more intense and original. It's also great seeing aboriginal characters playing heroes and zombies, adding a unique flavour to the proceedings. So hold on tight to your fur-lined Aussie Akubra hats and prepare for the blood-splashing ride of your life.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: **** 4-Stars
Wyrmwood opens theatrically on June 19, 2015 in Toronto at the Yonge-Dundas Cinemas via Raven Banner and Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada. The picture premiered at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.