I was beginning to doubt that I’d ever see Wyrmwood: Apocalypse. Director Kiah Roache-Turner and co-writer Tristan Roache-Turner delivered Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead in 2014 and although a sequel was promised all we got was a short Wyrmwood: Chronicles of the Dead and the unrelated, though wildly entertaining Nekrotronic. But we were denied a return to a future of zombie-powered cars, until now.
Picking up after the original, Barry (Jay Gallagher, Tough Nuts: Australia’s Hardest Criminals) and his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradley, Rendel: Dark Vengeance, The Osiris Child) who is infected but managing to keep it under control via vials of blood are still alive. The Captain is dead, however, his twin brother Rhys (Luke McKenzie, Crime Follows Punishment, Butterfly Kisses) is alive and helping The Surgeon (Nicholas Boshier, Keep in Touch, Retrograde) and The Colonel (Jake Ryan, Wolf Creek, Out of the Shadows) find a cure for the zombie virus. Or so he thinks.
But when he captures Maxi’s (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) infected sister Grace (Tasia Zalar) and takes her back to base he puts everyone on a bloody collision course.
After going so long between the two films I expected Wyrmwood: Apocalypse to be a completely stand-alone film. However, there are enough links back to the original to confuse those not familiar with the original, or who don’t recall all of its details. A brief recap of the characters including the human/zombie hybrids and the world itself would have been a good idea. Especially the central concept of the chemicals in the zombie’s breath being the only available source of fuel or power.
There’s still more than enough to let viewers enjoy Wyrmwood: Apocalypse’s Mad Max meets The Evil Dead world while they’re figuring the details out. Indeed, the film is never short on the kind of action and strange characters that keep viewers watching. Chief among Wyrmwood: Apocalypse’s strange characters is The Surgeon, a mix of Dr. Strangelove and Dr. Logan from Day of the Dead. And a zombified arm that would give Ash nightmares. The human/zombie hybrids are a close second, subject to fits of bloodlust but able to telepathically control their fully zombified brethren, even to the point of using them as suicide bombers.
The result is an almost non-stop barrage of vehicle chases, fights, gunfights, explosions, and general zombie gore. And I do mean gore, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is an intensely bloody film with all manner of carnage on display from exploding heads to disembowelments. It’s rendered with a mix of practical and CGI-enhanced effects that are mostly quite convincing. Some of it does go far enough over the top that it approaches splatstick, but did you not expect that in a film with zombie-powered cars?
While that might be a bit too silly at times for serious horror fans, I found Wyrmwood: Apocalypse to be an enjoyable and outrageously bloody romp that made for a welcome change of pace. It’s also proof that the spirit of Ozploitation is still going strong. A false ending and the ensuing scenes point in the direction of a third film and a possible heel turn from some of the survivors. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait as long for it as we did for this one, although if the delay was due to a Nekrotronic sequel I’d probably be OK with that.
Already released in its native Australia and much of the rest of the world, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse has just been released to VOD and Digital platforms in the US by XYZ Films. It will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on May 17th. You can check their website or Facebook page for more details, and you can check FilmTagger for similar films.