Movie News & Reviews

‘Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead’ puts zombies in the outback: 3 stars

Not rated | Time: 1:34

Like greyhounds after the hare, “Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead” bursts out of the gate panting and doesn’t let up.

The hare in this case is a mysterious zombie plague that follows a meteor shower in the Australian outback, and the greyhounds are a pair of siblings whose particular talents — one artisanal, the other supernormal — prove especially useful in battling the undead.

Filming mostly on weekends over 31/2 years, the director, Kiah Roache-Turner (who wrote the script with his brother Tristan), exhibits a blithe, go-for-broke style that doesn’t hang about to commiserate over the infected or ingested.

So when Barry (Jay Gallagher), a studly car mechanic, is forced to shoot his wife and child with a nail gun, there’s barely a beat before he tightens his tool belt and heads out to rescue his sister, Brooke (Bianca Bradey), from a sadistic doctor with a soft spot for KC and the Sunshine Band. There’s no crying in the apocalypse.

Ambulant corpses may be tramping all over our movie and television screens these days, but “Wyrmwood” has enough novelty — and more than enough energy — to best its minuscule budget.

Tim Nagle’s photography is sharp and frisky, whether capturing the black-and-green miasma of zombie breath (which, don’t you know, is a fine substitute for petrol) or the priceless comic reactions of Leon Burchill as Benny, Barry’s unflappable sidekick. Benny doesn’t know much about zombies, but he does know that few weapons are more powerful than a man in a tool belt and a woman in a rage.

(At the new Screenland Crossroads.)

| Jeannette Catsoulis,

The New York Times

THE NEW SCREENLAND CROSSROADS

Maybe it’s fitting that the zombies of “Wyrmwood” will be on hand. The Screenland Crossroads, which lost its lease two years ago at 17th and Washington streets, is back from the dead in its new location at 1701 McGee St. The new theater, opening to the public at 4 p.m. Friday, will focus on independent and retro films, with a full-service bar and restaurant and a game arcade with more than 30 machines.

| Sharon Hoffmann, shoffmann@kcstar.com

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