Digi-Schlock: WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD (Scream Factory Blu-Ray)

Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead is one of the best zombie flicks in recent memory, proof that creative independent filmmakers can find fresh angles on familiar commercial territory. It’s got an interesting little-film-that-could story behind it, being a crowdfunded venture made over a few years on weekend by genre fans. Scream Factory gives this upstart a nice home video treatment on a new blu-ray and also throws in a batch of extras that bring you inside the rigors and the glory of making such a film.

Wyrmwood-bluThe transfer here looks great, presenting the slick digital cinematography in a way that is rich with detail and distinguished by a vivid color palette. The audio options for this transfer are 7.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo tracks. The 7.1 track was used for this review and it’s a pulse-pounding affair: densely-layered with a lot of surround activity but blessed with nice, clear dialogue throughout.

There’s also a nice array of extras on this set created by the filmmakers themselves. First up is a commentary track with the brother/filmmaker team Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner. It’s a lighthearted but extremely informative track that offers details on every location, cast member and special effect. They can be quite humble about their work, frequently pointing out errors in continuity or coverage, but it’s their enthusiasm that carries the day here.

Next is a 50-minute featurette entitled “The Wyrmdiaries.” It’s not the making-of piece that the title suggests but more of a behind-the-scenes collage drawn from footage taken over the film’s three-year production journey, starting with the promotional teaser and going all the way to the final day of the shoot.Wyrmwood-03

The results give you a nice appreciation for the ingenuity and technical inventiveness of the filmmakers, offering great insight into how the makeup FX and action sequences were achieved (look out for the hair-raising footage of a car stunt mishap that narrowly avoided becoming a fatality). This featurette also gives you a nice sense of the cameraderie shared by everyone involved in the shoot.

Speaking of the aforementioned teaser, all seven minutes of it are also included on this disc. It’s essentially one extended setpiece that includes two actors in the film and offers embryonic versions of concepts that are explored in greater detail in the Wyrmwood-04finished film. Like Wyrmwood, it’s both kinetic and bloody.

Next up are a pair of videos used for the film’s crowdfunding campaign. The first runs about six minutes and is a well-made, heartfelt pitch for the film by the Roache-Turner brothers that includes some interesting clips of their early work.  The second video runs just over four minutes and features both brothers making an amusing request for post-production funds while in full zombie makeup.

Elsewhere, Wyrmwood-05there is a flip-through gallery of storyboards, all done in a multi-panel style that gives them a neat comic-book look. A trailer is also included in two different edits: both versions sell the film’s blend of horror, action and deadpan humor well. The final inclusion is a set of deleted scenes, ten different inclusions that run twenty minutes. Many of these are extensions to existing scenes, including more material in the lab and extensions to beats in the finale. The most interesting of the latter moments is a monologue that a villainous soldier has about his mission.

In short, Scream Factory has put together a handsome and informative presentation for a deserving indie horror effort. If zombie flicks are your cup of grue, you’ll want to add this to your blu-ray collection.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead, click here.

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