Has every zombie story been told? Probably. Die-rise-chomp doesn’t offer much variation. But there will always be a committed few who approach this popular horror subset with the enthusiasm and insouciance of successful used-car sales folk.
Such is the focused, spiky humor and energy with which Australian brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner infuse “Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead.” (Impressively, it’s their debut: Kiah directed, both wrote.)
The model they’re hawking is a lively crossbreed of Peter Jackson-style gore comedy of manners (a la “Dead Alive”) and “Mad Max” post-apocalypse machine punk, in which brooding antihero Barry (Jay Gallagher), forced to sacrifice his turned wife and daughter, must traverse a zombiefied outback to rescue his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey), who’s been kidnapped by sadistic paramilitaries and subjected to a psycho doctor’s evil experiments.
There’s nifty invention in Barry’s discovery that zombies emit a handy alternative fuel source and that they can even be controlled by the right kind of unwittingly transformed person.
But the deal breaker, as always with these films, lies in the cut of one’s giblets, and the Roache-Turners prove to have the right mix of micro-budget filmmaking ingenuity, action sass and undead splatter to make “Wyrmwood” a tastier than usual exploitation nosh.
“Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead.”
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.