DVD review: zombie flick Wyrmwood - inventive and funny no-budget debut

Mad Max meets George A Romero in this gruesome and clever genre piece.

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2015, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2015, 10:52pm

The one-two punch of writer-director Kiah and writer-producer Tristan Roache-Turner decided to go it alone for their first production and have most certainly made the most of a minuscule budget (about US$160,000, if reports are to be believed).

If you're not a fan of the zombie genre then don't be afraid. Wyrmwood is wonderfully inventive, often very funny, and a great inspiration to budding filmmakers.

Set in the Australian bush, a meteor shower has struck earth, there's a plague flying around and an increasing number of zombies are taking to the countryside - and the roads - in the search for flesh. We are introduced to a young man (Jay Gallagher) who survives the trauma (just) and sets out in search of his sister (Bianca Bradey). He hooks up with another survivor (Leon Burchill), and together they battle their way across the country and through zombie packs to find her and - hopefully - safety.

While there's nothing outstanding in the premise, it's the execution that sparkles with inventiveness. The film doffs its cap at times to classics of its own genre - Dawn of the Dead (1978), in particular. There's definite shades of Mad Max (1979) here, too, and it matches the sheer enthusiasm found in the first of that series from director George Miller with its chases and action scenes.

There's also a wonderful scene in which a band of survivors fashions protective armour from what's lying around in a shed - a nod to Australian history and the story of Australian bushranger Ned Kelly.

Fans of the genre will delight at the gruesome ends that greet the undead and there are some clever tweaks to what we previously knew about these masses, and what they might be useful for.

The film also brings to mind District 9, Neill Blomkamp's debut feature that showed the same sort of smarts when it came to playing around with conventions. This too is a razor-sharp and stylish debut

Extras: commentary with the Roache-Turner brothers; The Wyrmdiaries: Behind the Scenes of Wyrmwood; seven-minute teaser scene featurettes; crowdfunding videos #1 and #2; storyboards by the director; deleted scenes

Wyrmwood Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill. Director: Kiah Roache-Turner