Frightfest Glasgow: Wyrmwood: Apocalypse (2022)

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Certification: 18

Starring: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Brady, Luke McKenzie, Shantae Barnes-Cowan, Tasia Zalar, Lauren Grimson, Nicholas Boshier, Goran D. Kleut

Following on from 2014's Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, co-writer/director Kiah Roache-Turner returns to expand his apocalyptic vision. Set in a zombie-infested Australia, soldier Rhys (Luke McKenzie) dedicates his life to capturing survivors for the Surgeon General (Nicholas Boshier) in the hopes of finding a cure. Standing in his way are hardened-human Barry (Jay Gallagher) and his undead sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey).

Since their last appearance, things have not gone well for the siblings as their continued war for survival involves grappling with Brooke's diminishing humanity. Anybody who missed the first film may be lost on key information, such as the biological changes to zombies. Roache-Turner seems less interested in these returning figures, as though they're an obligation inserted into a new story.

Their battle continues against the insidious company experimenting on zombies and humans alike, although the unmenacing antagonists are a problem. There's an attempt at social commentary by conveying corporate greed and how it destroys people for personal gain, although this is shown through faceless soldiers and a pair of drug-addicted villains chewing the scenery. What feels vitally missing are the higher-ups benefitting from this situation, leaving the most imposing antagonist to be a third-act creation.

In a world vitally altered by this new status quo, as seen in Rhys' attempts at an everyday life, there's little sense of the wider world. As key events occur within similar fields and warehouses, the scope feels frustratingly limiting and the tension unfortunately lacking. Necessary emotional impact feels undone by the rushed attempts at hitting the necessary beats, as depicted in Brooke losing her humanity. There's delightful fun to be had in the grisly moments, although these are too infrequent throughout.

Wyrmwood: Apocalypse played at Frightfest Glasgow