Review by Sean Boelman
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead was a lightning-in-a-bottle type of movie: a zombie flick with the right amount of camp to be fun, but also genuinely unsettling at the same time. Seven years later, audiences are returning to Kiah Roache-Turner’s wasteland in Wyrmwood: Apocalypse, but the results are ever so slightly disappointing.
The film follows a soldier who delivers survivors of an undead plague to a mad scientist as he decides to turn against his boss and fight for good with the help of a half-zombie/half-human hybrid and some old friends from the first movie. Granted, no one was going to accuse Road of the Dead of being the most logical zombie movie, but this one is even more exaggerated and nonsensical.
More often than not, sequels struggle to maintain their energy when they break up a team that was charming together in the first entry. Somehow, the opposite is true here, because the part of the first movie that worked so well was its chaotic energy cutting between storylines. Everything feels like it ties together a bit too nicely here for its own good.
There are also attempts here at deeper political commentary, and the film almost entirely falls flat in that regard. The first one was a goofy action-horror movie about zombies whose blood can be used as fuel. This one has a shallow, overdone commentary about the military and whether or not soldiers should be held accountable for the damage they cause.
The movie attempts to further develop the characters from the first film, but ends up doing the age-old metaphor of them fighting their inner demons by them fighting the literal monster that is trying to take over their body. And any attempt to do anything with the new bloods is weighed down by the apparent need to connect them to legacy characters that there isn’t a huge fanbase for in the first place.
The acting here is rough, but it wasn’t great in the first film either. It’s a B-movie so you can’t go in expecting anything less than hamminess. That said, the thing that is sorely missing here is comedic relief. The absence of Leon Burchill and Keith Agius is sorely felt here, and there’s no real equivalent to replace them.
Perhaps most disappointing is that the execution isn’t as strong. Some of the best things about the first movie were the practical effects that were absolutely gnarly, and the stuff here is much less memorable. There is also more noticeable CGI to be found in this film, and given the low budget, it is distractingly cheap.
Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is still a fun enough time to be worth the rental fee, but it doesn’t recapture the success of its predecessor. Perhaps it would have been better off had the original just been left alone.
Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is now available on VOD.