Wyrmwood wows US critics

21 September, 2014 by Don Groves

Brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner have brought a unique approach to the zombie sub-genre with their debut feature Wyrmwood, which skilfully mixes mayhem and black comedy.

That’s the consensus of the reviews on horror movie web sites following the world premiere of the low-budget Australian film at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas last Friday night.


Directed by Kiah, who co-wrote the screenplay with Tristan, the plot follows Barry (Jay Gallagher), a mechanic who loses his family in an Apocalypse, as he sets out with best mate Benny (Leon Burchill) to find his missing sister (Bianca Bradey).

As IF reported, the brothers took nearly four years to make the film,  shot over 20 weekends in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Kellyville and Oberon. Screen Australia provided completion funding, Studiocanal acquired the Australian and UK rights, XYZ Films is the North American rep and Altitude Film Sales handles the rest of the world.

Typifying the rave reviews, Twitch Film’s Peter Martin said, “Wildly apocalyptic with dollops of silliness, Wyrmwood proves to be a splendidly gritty affair, a tale that feels like it's being told from the back of a jeep as it races away from doomsday on a very bumpy road in Australia.

“Wyrmwood wins points for originality, introducing a couple of zombie concepts I've not seen before that tie in well with the story and characters, helping to give the narrative a fresh spin.”

Shock Till You Drop’s Ryan Turek admired the film’s unapologetic, unpredictable hyper attitude and zippy pace, likening it to George A. Romero infused with Peter Jackson and George Miller.

“The Australian filmmaking team – Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner – attempt to bring something fresh and energetic to the zombie sub-genre. They fearlessly spit-balled some kooky ideas and executed them in a lot of fun visual ways,” said Turek.

The reviewer reckons the open-ending leaves the the door open for a sequel but he’d rather see the Roache-Turner brothers turn their enthusiasm and ingenuity onto another subject in the horror genre.

Horror Movies Uncut’s Abbie Stutzer praised the brothers for making a zombie film that is unique, observing, “There are enough insane car chase scenes, blood-hungry bad guys and fluid-spurting zombies to fill a dozen films. Lucky for us, though, all of this gross-out eye candy resides in the 92 minute explosive package that is Wyrmwood.”

Quiet Earth.US’s reviewer said, “Wyrmwood is a solid reminder that sometimes we just want to watch bullets fly and blood splatter, and there’s no shame in having a good time with the Apocalypse.”