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Film / Wyrmwood

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Wyrmwood is a 2014 Australian science fiction/horror film written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner. Billed as "Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead", it tells the parallel stories of family man Barry and his body artist sister Brooke as they adapt to the surreal new reality of a Zombie Apocalypse.

The story begins when a mysterious meteor shower alters Earth's atmosphere, rendering flammable liquids inert and transforming most humans into rampaging zombies. An avid handyman, Barry quickly adapts, outfitting himself and other survivors with some impressive improvised weapons. Brooke, however, is not so lucky, and quickly falls into the hands of a ruthless military who will go to any extreme to understand and stop the zombie plague...

In 2017, the producers released a preview for a 10-episode TV series set after the film titled Wyrmwood Chronicles Of The Dead.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Brooke. She graduates to a full-blown Lady of War after gaining the ability to summon and control zombie hordes.
  • Action Survivor: Barry, Brooke, Benny, Frank. The last two sadly don't make it to the end.
  • Affably Evil: The Captain, who might even have been a decent fellow at one time before crossing the Moral Event Horizon to save the world no matter how many uninfected lives are lost.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged throughout the film. Most of the characters go about in heavy armor that holds up well against the attacks of individual zombies, but offers little protection against bullets or when overwhelmed by multiple zombies.
    • Averted when the Captain was struck in the head by a metal boomerang. It punctured his helmet, but only grazed his forehead.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Frank's speech where he speculates that the survivors are in fact living through the Biblical prophecy of Wormwood.
  • Awesome Aussie: Most of the main cast.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: Barry, Benny, and Frank, who is replaced by Brooke following the former's death.
  • Big Bad: The unnamed captain of the military unit experimenting on people.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first characters we meet are a trio of black aborigine brothers on a camping trip where they witness the meteor shower. Two of them die. The third, Benny, escapes and becomes one of the film's central protagonists.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The main characters are ridiculously good at this. It's actually tough to find a scene where a character misses a zombie's head.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted throughout the film, but most brutally when Barry uses the last nail in his nailgun to Mercy Kill his daughter, leaving him unable to take his own life.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Benny is a lot of fun on road trips...
  • Chekhov's Gun: The matches Benny kicks out of Barry's reach are ultimately retrieved to turn the tide against the Captain.
  • Crapsack World: Something in the air is making everybody with any blood type but A- turn into flesh-crazed zombies. It's also rendered all flammable liquids inert, so gasoline cars are useless in escaping. The only semblance of civilization left is a military operation bent on experimenting on the survivors.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Frank, whose garage seems to contain all the weapons, armor, and spare parts one could ever want or need during a Zombie Apocalypse. Justified, as it is implied he is in the business of providing unusual (and illegal) weaponry for poachers.
  • Cool Car: The protagonists' armored, harpoon launcher-equipped, zombie-powered truck.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Brooke, who gains the power to control zombies, and shrug off non-headshots without gaining their feral appearance.
  • Death of a Child: Averted with Barry killing his daughter, Meganne. No other children are seen for the rest of the film.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Barry becomes despondent and suicidal after being forced to euthanize his transformed wife and daughter.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Although a standard trait of zombie films, the fact that every single character in Wyrmwood is an Awesome Aussie makes it that much more upsetting when they die.
  • Dying as Yourself: After being bitten Frank demands to be allowed to do this until Barry acquiesces and shoots him in the head.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole movie happens in a course of 2 days at most.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Doc. The way he struts and minces to Kool And The Gang while clad in a yellow rubber suit, and how he casually chats with Brooke as he tortures her might make him the most disturbing character in the entire film.
  • Fingore:
    • The Doc gets two of his fingers bit off by a zombie.
    • Barry gets a fingernail pulled off by pliers, as the soldiers force him to call Brooke out from hiding.
  • Foreshadowing: When you see a model getting dolled up in sugar skull makeup for a photoshoot just as the Zombie Apocalypse is beginning you just know it's not going to end well.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Barry spends only a few seconds being upset about Chalker's death, immediately teams up with the stranger who killed him, and then never mentions the incident again. Possibly justified given that he wasn't with Chalker voluntarily in the first place.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The soldiers who antagonize Brooke and Barry throughout the film must wear oxygen masks at all times to protect themselves from the contaminated atmosphere.
  • Government Conspiracy: Given that the military is there on the VERY FIRST DAY of the apocalypse fully equipped with stocks of purified air, full environmental suits, and electricity-powered mobile zombie research labs, it's a safe bet that the government knew Wyrmwood was coming. Whether or not they could have or did do anything to try and prevent it is never addressed.
  • Hard-Work Montage: As Barry and co. modify the truck to turn it into an armored vehicle.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a trio of armored warriors going toe-to-toe with a frenzied mob of undead over a stalled truck. The next third of the film is a set of flashbacks that lead up to this point.
  • Hypocrite: The Captain, who makes a show of being a Noble Demon by calling out Barry for attempting a Groin Attack during their fistfight, right after shooting him with a pistol.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Chalker, gunned down by an over-excited Benny.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: All characters demonstrate this by casually getting head shots with rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers and a nail gun at considerable distances.
    • At the film's climax, Barry hurls a metal boomerang several dozen yards while handcuffed, and managed to hit the Captain in the head. However, it turns out the attack only grazed him.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Barry's go-to weapon for the early part of the film is a pneumatic nail gun. Not surprising as private firearm ownership is severely restricted.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Frank, after being bitten by a zombie.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: One of the Captain's men carries a katana, insisting it's the only right way to cut off heads.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: The Doc cuts his own hand off in an attempt to stave off infection. It doesn't work.
  • Living Battery: The zombies - who are technically still living people - are discovered to exhale a highly flammable gas. When all combustible fuel stops working, Frank, Benny, and Barry get their truck to run by restraining zombies and running a tube from their throat to the engine.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The movie has a few of this.
    • The first one is more like a parody, as Barry puts on his tool belt and loads it up with screwdrivers and hammers.
    • The second one is in the barn, as the main characters "armor up" to go out and bring the truck inside.
  • More Despicable Minion: The Doctor is employed by The Captain of the military unit to experiment on people. Said Captain is a good man and Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to cure the zombie plague, while the Doctor is a Psycho for Hire who tortures his victims in the experiments for fun, dancing to disco while doing so, and goes too far even for the Captain.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After waking up from a nightmare, Barry gets pissed off at a zombie at his car window and shoots it in the face. The shot ignites the zombie, which leads to the car's compressor catching fire, so Barry has to get out of the car to put out the fire. He successfully do so, but Frank gets bitten in the hand.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Doc repeatedly injects Brooke with zombie blood, presumably to either study the immunity of uninfected or in an attempt to create a cure. Instead, he essentially makes her into a Queen Zombie, able to control other zombies telepathically, yet retaining her human mind and personality.
  • No Holds Barred Beat Down: DO NOT try a Groin Attack against the Captain unless this is what you want.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Very much so. The zombies of Wormwood have flammable blood and exhalations, making themselves a necessity in a world where all other liquid fuels have become inert. During the day, they are just your typical shambling dead; however, at night, they stop exhaling the fuel and become faster and stronger. Frank theorizes this is because they use this "fuel" at night time to power themselves.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Brooke by the film's end.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Just a few minutes spent inside Frank's shed and you'll come out looking scarier than any zombie.
  • Rasputinian Death: The Captain: first he is exposed to the contaminated air, then gets his face burned off by zombie blood, then finally eaten alive by Brooke's minions.
  • Seen It All: After having endured the death of his young son by cancer, not even the end of the world can get to Frank.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The rapid, jumpy shots of Barry and co. building their weapons and their car are unmistakably similar to the montages of Ash doing the same things in Army of Darkness.
    • One mook insists that a katana is the only right way to cut off heads.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: The film doesn't take itself too seriously but there are moments presented as horror, such as Barry killing his wife and daughter.
  • Technology Erasure Event: The same comet that causd the Zombie Apocalypse also made it so gasoline and ethanol can no longer burn.
  • Thanatos Gambit: A mortally-wounded Benny opts to let a zombie bite him, allowing him to turn and take out several of the enemy who are about to execute Brooke, saving her life in the process.
  • Title Drop: Albeit one where the actual term is spelled differently than the film's title. Frank states his belief that the zombie-spawning meteors are in fact Wormwood, the poisonous falling star described in Revelation.
  • Title of the Dead: The movie title is subtitled with Road of the Dead.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Why go to all the trouble of bringing a gun when you're just getting out of the car to take a leak? It'll only take a second, right?
  • The Unreveal:
    • The movie never gets to explaining why the fuel stops working overnight.
    • The source of Brooke's mysterious power.
    • The real reason for the zombie apocalypse, and the military's involvement.
  • Villainous Rescue: Any time Brooke's zombies show up.

Alternative Title(s): Wyrmwood Road Of The Dead