Friday, July 31, 2015

Wyrmwood (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - When There's No More Room in Australia... Mad Max Shall Roam the Earth

I’ve enjoyed Wyrmwood a couple times and with each viewing my overall opinion goes up. I feel like a broken record, but the zombie genre ain’t dead. If you are having trouble enjoying zombie fiction, it’s quite possible you’ve been watching the wrong stuff of which, I admit, there is a lot. One of my chief jobs as a reviewer is to point you in good directions and help you make informed decisions about your fiction. Wyrmwood is an opportunity to appreciate cross-genre pollination with a some fun effects, a new twist on the living dead (yes… another new twist) and support independent horror. Scream Factory and IFC Midnight have teamed up to offer a very nice Blu-ray of this Australian zombie menace. Time to get over the preconceived notion that all zeds suck.

From Scream Factory/IFC Midnight:

In the aftermath of a comet breaking up over Earth, most of the planet's population quickly succumbs to a strange disease which turns them into "zombies." Few survive, and those who do, quickly discover all existing fuel sources have been rendered useless by the plague.

Trapped in a wilderness teeming with living dead, one of the survivors, Barry, has lost everything except his sister, Brooke. But even as the disaster unfolds, Brooke is kidnapped and dragged to a terrifying medical lab run by a psychotic "doctor" who is performing a series of deranged experiments on plague survivors. As Brooke struggles to devise an escape plan, she realizes that the doctor's experiments have given her strange powers over his zombie captives. Unaware of his sister's new powers, Barry teams up with fellow survivors to rescue her and protect what family he has left.

With a healthy dose of Mad Max-inspired vehicular mayhem and an enormous serving of pure, raw talent, this raucous post-apocalyptic epic is one of the most original and wildly entertaining genre films in years!

The multi character/group approach to Wyrmwood works. There are a couple intertwining arches that meet up to form a balanced story of semi-comical fates of very unique characters. Bianca Bradey is tremendous as she portrays a vicious survivor who meets up with mad science gone punk gone wrong. You’re going to want to enjoy her battles with the undead and the living. I’m not going to give away the big twist that really sets Wyrmwood apart from other zombie flicks, but it’s a late game touchdown that really makes this flick fun and fantastical. It could’ve been an ordinary zombie flick. Sure you’d have some characters dress up like the Road Warrior to do battle with the zeds in gory fashion, but you get mega crazy piled on top of insanity. This movie builds until you have all the pieces of  the strange post-apocalypse that breaks down in the face of what might be described as a nod to superhero films.  Try to avoid the out and out comparison to Mad Max and Dawn of the Dead. No movie is Mad Max. No movie is Dawn of the Dead. Wyrmwood does have elements of both films.

Favorite zombie: Day of the Dead Makeup Model. We haven’t seen a sexier zombie since Return of the Living Dead 3.
Favorite fuel source: zombie halitosis
Favorite dance: The doctor getting down before getting his experiment on (you’ll see)

There’s plenty of humor to enjoy in between zombie kill sessions. Fans of the Phantasm II and the “preparing for battle” sequence will love the battle prep in Wyrmwood. It’s a little sexy but not naughty with plenty of blood thrown at the screen that makes excellent use of its meager budget of $160,000. The characters are loveable, their situations identifiable and they are easy to root for. It’s a newer indie release with some flaws in the actual filmmaking itself though the movie looks very nice in HD. This is another example of Scream Factory backing the right horse when it comes to independent new horror to support especially with partner IFC Midnight vetting the competition. It is also important to note that Scream Factory has had great success in finding zombie movies that are new that challenge the genre, are relevant and that have become fans favorites for Blu-ray release. The Battery and Cockneys vs. Zombies were excellent releases last year.

You can order Wyrmwood now from Scream Factory. Watch the zombie movie. Make up your own mind. Try not to be prejudice against the undead and the films that include them.

Extras include:

Audio Commentary With The Roache-Turner Brothers
The Wyrmdiaries: Behind The Scenes Of WYRMWOOD Featurette
Crowdfunding Videos: Wyrmwood Production Pitch
Deleted Scenes
7-Minute Teaser Scene
Storyboards By The Director
Theatrical Trailer

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