Ah, zombies. A dependable, if somewhat tiring cinematic stomping ground, that tends to produce cult favourite movies, while always having the potential to alienate film fans on a broader sense, given their lack of originality. It’s an area that’s been overdone of late, and with Shaun of the Dead bringing a comic touch, Warm Bodies adding romance into the equation, and then The Walking Dead taking these themes triumphantly to the smaller screen, you can’t help but wonder where this sub-genre can be taken next? Well, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is the answer – somehow managing to avoid tedium, and offering a fresh, playful angle, resulting in one helluva entertaining movie.

This Australian feature, directed by debutant Kiah Roache-Turner, focuses in on Barry (Jay Gallagher) who finds his life dismantled before his very eyes, when he learns that his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey) is kidnapped by soldiers, to then be experimented on by a sinister, savage doctor. The reason is that she is still human – whereas the rest of the crumbling society around her are turning into zombies. So with gas masks at the ready, Barry sets off with his wife Annie (Catherine Terracini) and daughter (Meganne West) to save her – but soon enough, they turn themselves. Now left to his own devices, he teams up with fellow lone ranger Benny (Leon Burchill) to try and stay alive – and rescue his sister before it’s too late.

Roache-Turner has managed to find a working balance between comedy and horror – as there are dark tendencies to this piece, particularly in how humans become the paramount antagonist, in spite of the epidemic of zombies that’s occurring, offering a unique spin on the narrative and portraying how flawed we can be as a race, and even in times of severe danger, manage to turn on one another. Meanwhile, comedy derives from the zombie’s inefficiencies, as they take on the form of a rather pathetic, inadequate villain, slow-witted and quite literally, empty-headed. But, and in a similar vein to Shaun of the Dead, they just about maintain their threat, formidable enough to provide some intensity to proceedings.

Where this film truly comes into its element, however, is in the droll wit that remains prevalent, as a feature that is tongue-in-cheek and unashamedly good natured, making for a truly enjoyable cinematic experience. And let’s face it, there’s always room for pictures of this ilk, as every now and again, sitting down and immersing yourself in a movie that’s as unrelenting in its commitment to entertainment as Wyrmwood is, can be just what the doctor ordered.