It’s a trio of infection films from three different countries—Argentina, Australia, and the U.S. So which one did I like the best?
WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE (2021)
Sequel time! The leading brother and sister from the first Wyrmwood are back as the Australian apocalypse continues.
However, the first part of the film focuses on a different hunky dude who spends his time catching and delivering zombies to the military to experiment on in hopes of finding a cure. At least that’s what he thinks they’re doing.
Instead there’s a nefarious underground plot, led by a big bald hottie. As compared to the first film, the good news here is that all the hotties don’t die off immediately.
On the other hand, while there’s some over-the-top gore and silliness as in the first film, this sequel just didn’t keep me engaged for a majority of its runtime. It’s was very run-of-the-mill, and the zombie action wasn’t fun enough to save it.
Only the final act, when the brother, his hybrid sister, who can telepathically control zombies, and the new main hunk hero team up and invade the underground lab that things get back to the wacky excitement of the first film, complete with a big mutant boss.
This Tubi original made for like 5000 dollars is yet another film that highlights the lockdown era. Be warned that there are essentially two cast members…and two zombies. It’s still an interesting enough concept, but perhaps it would have been easier to sit through as a 70-minute movie instead of an unnecessary 90-minute film.
During some sort of outbreak, an infected dude without symptoms is in quarantine in a cabin in the woods. He speaks regularly with his wife, a scientist, who is helping research his blood to see if they can come up with a cure. Even though he is being monitored by modern day drones, for whatever reason their video calls look like they’re being done using dial-up modems on 1991 computers.
Anyway, the main guy eventually encounters one zombie in the wilderness and is saved by a person in a hazmat suit with a bow and arrow. The only real suspense is as we wait for him to eventually encounter this person and find out who it is.
Not surprisingly, this is a fatalistic film with no happy ending, and although it’s never referenced as a zombie film, the two infected he encounters look like zombies. However, they appear to lust after blood, fear daylight, and burn to a crisp in the sun. So I’m thinking this is more like a vampire infection situation.
VIRUS: 32 (2022)
We have a winner. I have such zombie burnout, and every new film is most definitely riddled with familiar situations, but it’s still possible to deliver a thrill ride if you do it right, and Virus: 32 is high intensity.
The opening establishing shots carry you along with sweeping camera work that gives the illusion of being a single take as it tours a town.
Then we meet a woman who works as the night security guard at a sports club and has no choice but to bring her young daughter to work with her.
Many have compared this film to 28 Days Later, but I’d have to disagree because I find that film to be a tedious mess and this one to be a superb cat and mouse zombie film that keeps limited characters confined within one building.
Okay, I will admit there’s a point when some of the score sounds like a total rip-off of the 28 Days Later music.
Anyway, by the time the mother realizes something unnatural has infiltrated the building, she has been separated from her daughter. Her goal is to weave her way through the rooms and halls to save her daughter before the zombies can get to her.
Like I said, as with most new zombie films, we are treated to predominantly predictable zombie situations, but they are presented with so much edge-of-your-seat suspense I was riveted. And the underplayed but notable difference here is the notion that the zombies periodically go into a temporary state of repose for 32-second intervals, which gives the characters brief chances to make a run for it. It also gives us a sequence that feels right out of the scene with the nurses in Silent Hill.
The highlight for me, however, is a nightmarish chase scene near the end when zombies start flooding into the gym from all sides. Holy shit!