14th Mar2022

Frightfest Glasgow 2022: ‘Wyrmwood: Apocalypse’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Luke McKenzie, Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Nicholas Boshier, Shantae Barnes-Cowen, Tasia Zalar, Jake Ryan | Written by Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner | Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner

I was a huge fan of 2014s Australian zombie gorefest Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and so I have spent the intervening years awaiting the long-gestating sequel with bated breath… and now, finally, it’s here. Was it worth the wait?

Er… F*ck yes!

Picking up just after where the first film left off, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse shows us what happens to Brooke when she goes full-on zombie. At the same time starting a new story which follows Rhys ((Luke McKenzie), the twin of one the characters from the original film, whose running a weird zombie experiment “camp” where he captures and runs tests on the undead – using them to power his facility, to practice boxing with, you know, the usual; all the while looking for signs of a cure. He also drops off his captors at the Colonel’s (Jake Ryan) facility, where his villainous cohort, The Surgeon (Nicholas Boshier) performs all kinds of experiments, all in the hope, and promise to Rhys, of finding a cure.

Sisters Maxi (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) and Grace (Tasia Zalar), having gone on the run from brother and sister Barry (Jay Gallagher) and Brooke (Bianca Brady) after Brooke’s flesh-ripping turn in the opening of the film, are attacked by Rhys on one of his hunting trips and Grace is captured and delivered to the aforementioned Colonel. After some misadventures with Rhys, Maxi eventually calls on Barry and Brooke to help her get her sister back… even if that means killing anyone, and everyone, who gets in their way!

The big question is, after introducing new zombie lore which – unbelievably – actually explains the reason for the discrepancy between the lumbering zombies seen in the likes of George Romero’s original …Of the Dead trilogy and those super-speedy zombies present in the Dawn of the Dead remake and film such as 28 Days Later; what does Wyrmwood: Apocalypse offer?

Well for a start the dark humour is back in droves, as are the post-apocalyptic Mad Max-esque stylings. This time round however it looks like Kiah Roache-Turner and his brother Tristan Roache-Turner had more money to play with, using that to push the carnage and chaos as far as they can. Because man, is this film chaotic. In the best way possible of course! Running less than 90 minutes Wyrmwood: Apocalypse this is Wyrmwood with the restraints off, the shackles unchained, running non-stop from start to finish in a film that gives no one – no character or audience – time to take a breath. Literally, the only pause in the entire film is when Brooke, Barry and their crew are staging their attack on the Colonel’s base. And that just leads to more action, more bloodshed and more chaos.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is what you’d call a balls-to-the-wall zombie movie, and whilst there’s no real innovation in this one compared to the original film, it does continue the mythos fantastically, in a way that pays homage to the likes of George Miller and Peter Jackson – combing the gloriously over the top nature of the latter’s early work with the nihilistic nature of Miller’s Mad Max franchise. The film lives up to the title too. This feels, at times, like we’re witnessing a battle for the end of the world or at least the end of humanity as we know it.

Surprisingly timely, given that the Wyrmwood: Apocalypse deals with governmental authority figures the Colonel and the Surgeon searching for a cure for a virus that’s infecting the globe whilst keeping their findings secret (conspiracy fans will love that fact)… but that subtext is never heavy-handed, instead the Roache-Turner brothers play this film for fun. LOTS of fun. Insane blood-filled zombie fun. If you liked the original film you’ll love this!

****½  4.5/5

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse screened at Glasgow Frightfest on Friday, 11 March 2022. The will get its home ent. release from 101 Films in May 2022.


Comments are closed.