New on Digital Download, On Demand from XYZ Films & 101Films! Premiering at Frightfest Glascow 2022 on March 11th!
WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE (2021)
Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner.
Written by Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner.
Picking pretty much right where the last film left off, WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE follows a ragtag group of survivors made of tough guy Barry (Jay Gallagher), his undead girlfriend Brooke (Bianca Bradey) who has the power to control other zombies, and sisters Maxi and Grace (Shantae Barnes-Cowan and Tasia Zalar, respectively) as they battle the undead and themselves. Seems Brooke has to be satiated with blood or she will go full mindless zombie and after attacking Grace, the group splits up, seemingly for good. Meanwhile, Rhys (Luke McKenzie) is making a living in his barricaded mobile home, trapping zombies and survivors and delivering them to the underground bunker run by the Surgeon General (Nicholas Boshier), who runs heinous tests on his subjects and makes a drug that prohibits others from becoming a zombie. When Rhys runs into Grace, Rhys develops a conscience and decides to fight back against his employers, run by the sadistic madman known only as the Colonel (Jake Ryan). This results in a whole lot of bullets, bloodshed, and b-uh…carnage. Sorry couldn’t find another b-word.
Bare-knuckled-brawling. There, that’s better.
WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE naturally continues the turbo-powered twisted fun that began with ROAD OF THE DEAD. It maintains the same feverish tempo and continues to fill every scene with machismo, gore, and gory machismo. While paying homage to action tropes, none of the action feel repeated or stale. Hell, they even have the same actor playing the twin brother of the villain from the last film and it didn’t bother me one bit. There’s just too much to like and be entertained with to find anything really wrong with this film. Believe me, I tried.
Much like early Zack Snyder films, the Roache-Turner’s rely heavily on very precise and dynamic scenes. They love their slo-mo shots of the cool characters walking into battle. They love their perfectly staged hijinks and action scenes. The comedy is as crisp and biting as the horror. This is a writing/directing team that deserves to be set loose on a Hollywood production. Though I think this team is too prickly and unconventional for most Hollywood types.
The best part about this film series is that it never forgets to inject humanity into its characters. While the bad guys are as dastardly as they come and flawed to the core, the good guys, as gruff and troubled as they are, never feel like cliches. Luke McKenzie is great as the hero who has committed tons of sins from his past but has big plans to redeem himself or die trying. Even without uttering anything other than guttural screams, Bianca Bradey communicates her love for her man Barry, played by Jay Gallagher, simply with eyes and action. If there is a fault to this film, it’s that the focus on the film strays too far away from the sisterly bond between Shantae Barnes-Cowan and Tasia Zalar, but that bond is picked up later in the film—though it is next to forgotten in the first half. All of these performances are sewn into the story and never has a chance to slow down and stop panting. Finally, Jake Ryan and Nicholas Boshier do a marvelous job making the bad guys distinct and utterly irredeemable. This is definitely a film where you want to see the bad guys suffer as much as they can.
And suffer they do. The gore doesn’t hold back. In fact, it might even be more intense than the first film. If you like your zombies gnarly and gross and your human-made carnage even grosser, this one’s for you. Expect all kinds of blown-up zombies, dismemberments, guts galore, and weird science monstrosities. It’s all here. It’s all in your face. It’s all a smorgasbord for the gore-hounds to feast upon.
I’m as bored as you are with zombie films, but WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE is the remedy for that. It mixes the end of the world desperation style of the Road Warrior series with a new and deadlier kind of zombie. It’s wickedly funny at times, but rarely in a cartoonish Peter Jackson DEAD ALIVE way. The laughs come from how hardcore this film goes with every scene. While this is a sequel, don’t worry if you haven’t seen the original ROAD OF THE DEAD. It catches you up right and quick. Still, seeing it only doubles the fun and makes the experience even richer and rawer. If you’re looking for a one-two punch that’ll surely knock horror fans on their ass, seek out WYRMWOOD’s both ROAD OF THE DEAD and the new APOCALYPSE and you’ll be down for the count.