Movie Review: More Zombies in Oz — “Wyrmwood: Apocalypse”

Top tip here. One should never dip into a “Wyrmwood” zombie film around meal time — yours, or theirs.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse,” the sequel to 2014’s “Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead,” is a “Zombieland” meets “Soylent Green” blood-on-the-lens splatterfest. It’s probably meant to be funnier than I took it, but at least the slaughterhouse smorgasbord laid out here has a light touch.

Jay Gallagher and Bianca Bradey return from the first “Wyrmwood.” Brooke is infected, but “manageable” thanks to some serum we see Corporal Reese (Gallagher) administer in the first scene.

Brooke drops out of sight, but you can tell from the crazy in her eyes that she’ll be back, and that she’s destined to be their queen.

“Apocalypse” is about the world that’s been normalized around this (aerosol pathogen) outbreak. Soldiers in this corner of Australia have all gone “Road Warrior.” Reese hunts zombies and this new variation, “hybrids,” and delivers them to his superiors in “The Bunker,” where a hazmat-suited, blood-spattered “surgeon general” (Nicholas Boshier) is doing “experiments” in the search for a “cure.”

That serum suggests he’s made some progress. Those anti-viral pills Reese downs tell us that there might be real science going on, in spite of the torture chamber/abattoir vibe “The Bunker” gives off.

Reese lives in a DIY solo fort made of hurricane fencing and sheets of corrugated tin. He drives a Ute that Mad Max himself would be proud to park in the old family garage. He doesn’t question orders, slaughtering zombie or subduing anybody plainly not a staggering member of the walking dead.

Guy on a motorbike? Fetch him to the surgeon’s. These Aboriginal sisters, Maxi and Grace (Shantae Barnes-Cowa and Tasia Zalar)? One of them might be a hybrid. More “experiments?”

The idea of life’s ugly normalizations post-zombie apocalypse may have endured a thorough exploration in the various “Walking Dead” iterations and their many international zombie series counterparts. It’s still amusing to see the form our dystopia takes after the zombies chow down.

Reese has enslaved assorted zombies, short term, to power his pedal-driven gadgets and serve as training dummies. When he’s done with them, he dispatches each with a shot to the head.

“Wyrmwood: Apocalypse” is totally divorced from whatever’s left of city civilization (it’s all forest and field rural), and settles quickly into a “rescue” quest tale full of slaughter, sacrifice and post-Apocalyptic slang.

“Well well, turns out our surgeon general here is a BITE-hider!”

Gallagher makes a perfectly believable gruff badass, the sisters are properly plucky and the beautiful Bradey is so convincingly “gone” that Brooke would scare even the drunkest barfly out of making a pass.

The formulaic third act tends to drag on and on, but there’s still enough here for genre fans to bite their teeth into (sorry) and chew on (ahem).

Rating: unrated, seriously gory

Cast: Jay Gallagher, Shantae Barnes-Cowan, Bianca Bradey, Nicholas Boshier and Tasia Zalar

Credits: Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, scripted by Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner. An XYZ release.

Running time: 1:28

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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