“ Hello Toots! Would you mind if I cracked open your skull and feasted on the juice inside?!”

That about sums it up to be honest.

Anyone who has seen Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead will know that it is utterly and completely mental. An Ozploitation zombie movie that is as hilarious as it is gruesome. Director Kiah Roache-Turner returns alongside his writing and producing partner and brother Tristan Roache-Turner for the sequel, Wyrmwood: Apocalypse.

Stylistically if you’re unfamiliar with Ozploitation these films may be a bit of a hard sell. They are in your face, loud, obnoxious, and ridiculous. The humour is often strange and misplaced, yet it sort-of works. They pride themselves on their larger-than-life characters brought to life by almost pantomime performances.

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While the common approach to horror is that fear is in what you can’t see, the Ozzie way is to show you everything. In extreme close-up, complete with a lens covered in blood splatters. There is nothing clean or tidy about this film, it is grimy, slimy, and squelchy.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse picks up almost immediately after its predecessor. Two characters carry over from the previous film. Brooke (Bianca Bradley), a hybrid with the power of zombie mind control, who relies on regular intakes of blood to prevent herself from turning into a full zombie. And Barry (Jay Gallagher), a soldier who somehow survived the first film and spends this one basically following her around.

They are joined by Indigenous Australian sisters, Maxi (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) and Grace (Tasia Zalar). And the sibling of The Captain from the first film, Rhys (Luke McKenzie), played by the same actor.

Rhys is tasked with finding both infected and uninfected people, capturing them and delivering them to The Surgeon (Nicholas Boshier) with the promise that they will help to find a cure.

Everyone has secrets, either their infection status, their motives, or their abilities. Their alliances are inconsistent and chaotic but at the same time they are all so likeable that you can’t help but root for them.

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It leans into its Aussie roots – with ongoing use of colloquialisms, a disarming gun being adorned with the phrase “Wak Stick”, and a car having a literal “Go Button”. The use of the zombies as fuel has obvious parallels to the Mad Max universe and clear exploitative links to Australia’s colonial past. But despite the subtext, it is fundamentally a roller coaster of a film.

There are some issues, the pacing suffers a little in the second act, and it helps to have seen the first film before this one, but even if you haven’t it doesn’t really give you much time to be confused. You’re too busy laughing.

If you have seen the first film though, and enjoyed it, you certainly won’t be disappointed by this one. Wyrmwood: Apocalypse is a disgusting, hysterical riot.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse will get its home ent. release from 101 Films in May 2022

By Erika Bean

Blogger at screeningviolets.wordpress.com Occasional guest and host on the FILM & PODCAST. New cohost on Mondo Moviehouse. Likes arguing on the beach, long walks on the internet, intersectional feminism and neurodiversity.