Down Under Of The Dead
Release Date: 11 May 2015 | 18 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: Kiah Roache- Turner Cast: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Keith Agius, Berynn Schwerdt, Luke McKenzie
When it comes to Antipodean zombie movies there’s little of note – so little, in fact, that this actionpacked Aussie effort might be the best to emerge from the region since Peter Jackson’s 1992 Kiwi splatterfest Braindead.
That’s largely cos Wyrmwood ( the title nods to the Book of Revelation) has a couple of intriguingly original ideas. Its zombies have flammable blood, which means they can be tapped as a fuel source – and allows for both sprinting à la 28 Days Later and classic George Romero- style shambling. And one central character ( a kickass heroine) has the inexplicable ability to mentally control the undead – handy when she’s abducted by a sadistic scientist who takes a demented delight in experimentation…
It’s a satisfyingly frenetic film, with laconic, swear- heavy dialogue and lashings of violence ( nailgun killings; a finger bitten off; a face set on fire), and the Mad Max- esque armoured vehicle our heroes travel about in is pretty cool. But frustratingly, neither of those two key innovations is adequately explained or explored ( perhaps they’re leaving that for a sequel?). As a result, in the end Wyrmwood just runs out of gas.
Extras: Lively commentary by the director and his producer brother; 47 minutes of random behind- thescenes footage, enjoyably chocka with larking about; 18 minutes of deleted scenes; some cartoony storyboards; crowdfunding videos. Ian Berriman
The script evolved a lot while the film was being shot: the two main characters were originally lovers, but ended up siblings.
Never insult Dame Edna.