Down Un­der Of The Dead

SFX - - Rated dvd & blu-ray -

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.

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