As I said last week. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of crappy horror movies. For this weeks marathon, I watched a franchise or at least part of a franchise. I watched Wrong Turn 1, 2, and 4. I would have watched Wrong Turn 3, but for whatever reason, it was the only one that was not free On Demand, and I was not about to pay money to see one of these movies. There is also a 5 and a 6, but for the sake of brevity, I will keep this review to these three, and maybe review the other two later on when I get a chance to watch them. It is a horror franchise about various groups of people being killed, and eaten, by deformed hillbilly cannibals. It is a movie that managed to get five sequels, so it must be somewhat good, right? Well, if we learned anything from movies like Leprechaun, just because a horror movie creates a franchise, does not mean it is good. Let’s start the reviews. There are spoilers ahead, but let’s be real, these are not movies where you care about spoilers.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Let’s get this straight, this movie is by no means good. It is cliche as hell, the mutant rednecks look ridiculous, and the male lead, played by Desmond Harrington has the charisma of soggy toilet paper. Still, the movie has its merits.
For one, it has quality gore. A woman has her head chopped in half, we see a body get carved up and eaten, someone takes an arrow through the eye, and someone is strangled gruesomely with barbed wire. If you are the type of sick individual, like myself, who appreciates some great gory kills in horror movies, that itself may make this movie worth a watch.
The opening scene also has some quality tension, mostly due to the fact we never see the cannibals at this point. There is another scene later, where the four people still alive are stuck hiding in the cannibal’s cabin, and have to silently watch as one of them carves up their friend to prepare dinner. Again, we get only an obstructed view of these mutants. Things we cannot see are almost always scarier than things in plain view.
Also, Eliza Dushku is in this movie, which is always cool. Although, I feel like they wasted her. Dushku has played several badass characters, and here, well she never does much of anything except run and captured forcing the soggy toilet paper to save her. You have an ass-kicking vampire slayer from Buffy, I wanted to see her mess some mutant cannibals up.
But even with the gore and Dushku, the movie still felt dull at times. Firstly, as I said, the mutants look ridiculous. I understand what they were going for, but it is too much. I would have preferred if they scaled it back just a little bit.
My biggest problem with it is that it is just so cliche. Stranded in the woods, the car broke down, the cell phone isn’t working. It has been done so many times before, and they bring nothing new or interesting to the table. And the characters are so frustrating. Early on, they discover that the barbed wire that they ran across destroying their tires, was placed there purposely, and this doesn’t seem to bother them. They decide it is not a concern that someone laid a trap for them out here. They just walk away and leave two of their friends back with the cars, who are of course promptly killed. One of them, knowing she is being chased, decides to freeze. They are up in the trees, and instead of crossing the branch with the other people still alive, she walks back where she came from, and is of course killed.
Overall, it is the standard slasher flick. It isn’t so embarrassingly bad that it is fun to watch, and it does not have much to offer besides a few gory kills. It is dull, cliche, but thankfully, it is only 95 minutes long.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
The sequel has a much larger cast than the original, which can only mean one thing, more opportunity for kills. But does this make Wrong Turn 2 a better movie? Actually, it kind of is. It may not be good, but it is fun.
For one, the gore was even better in this movie. In the first kill of the movie, a woman is cut in half, and not the way you would expect her to be cut in half. No, they didn’t do any weak cut at the torso, she was split like a log, from the top down. The kill makes no sense and is completely impossible, but I do not care, it was great. Two people get strung up on ropes, before being impaled through the head by the same arrow. A dude is scalped. One of the mutants cuts a woman’s face off and wears it. Even the protagonist get in on the gruesome kills, as they push a couple mutants into an industrial meat grinder. It never really slows down like the first movie did. The large cast gives the movie a constant stream of dead bodies.
The premise is also less cliche. These people aren’t here because they are stranded, instead, they are filming a Survivor-type reality TV show. The contestants of the reality show include a Hollywood actress, a lingerie model, a female veteran of the marines, a douchy skateboarder, a goth with trust issues, and a former football player. Also here, are the crew, the director, his shy girlfriend who is forced to enter the competition when the actress doesn’t show up (because she was split in half), the host, another former Marine, and a technician. What is surprising, is the people who live, are not the ones who you would expect to. Who had the black guy, and the goth, as the ones who would make it out. Not me, I had my money on the director’s girlfriend, who totally had final girl vibes.
The best character though is host Dale, the Marine, played by the great Henry Rollins. When Dale discovers there are killer mutants running around the woods he doesnt just roll over in die. Oh no, he arms himself with all the weapons he can find, including a bow, with arrows he armed with dynamite, and he went hunting. It is a little stupid that he was captured early on, and not killed by the mutants. I mean they never captured any one alive before, and then just left them alive, unguarded, but whatever, I am happy he lived to kick some hilbilly ass.
The movie is dumb but in a good way. There are several characters who are very annoying, like the douchy skateboarder who is constantly making awful jokes, but thankfully, he gets killed. And even the characters who are not likable, are still easily defined and recognized. There was never a death where I thought, wait, which one was that?
The movie doesn’t pretend or try, to be good. It just wants to be fun. I had a good time watching it, flaws and all. Which is good, because it only goes downhill from here. This one is worth a watch.
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)
After the second movie, the franchise went directly to DVD. From what I hear, the third movie was very bad, as direct to DVD films tend to be. I wouldn’t know. But does the fourth one get back to the stupid but fun dynamic the second one found? Eh, kind of yes, but also, kind of no.
This movie is a prequel. It lets us know where the three antagonists of the first movie came from, which is a mental hospital. They break out of their cell, kill all the doctors, and set up shop there, until a bunch of college kids get lost on their snowmobiles in a storm and take shelter there.
Once again the kills are solid, in fact, maybe even better. The list of ways people die is as follows. A woman has her head fried by one of those electroshock therapy devices. A man is quartered by having his arms and legs each tied and pulled off by winches. One guy gets an ice pick through the head. One woman is hanged by barbed wire, and when her friends try to pull her down, it decapitates her. In an especially gruesome scene, one guy is tied down, and forced to watch as the mutants cut pieces off of him, and cook the pieces in oil, in what is the worst hotpot dish ever seen. In a surprisingly clever death, the mutants cut off the tongue of one of the survivors, and bag his head. They send him running towards his friends, and because he can not see his face, they freak out, and attack him, only to discover who he is too late. Another woman gets a rather large drill through her stomach from behind. A woman is run gored by a snowmobile. And finally, the final two survivors, just when we think they are going to survive, ride their snowmobile through an unseen barbed wire, and lose their heads. The deaths are undeniably fantastic. It is everything else that is meh.
Firstly unlike in 2, I cannot tell half of these characters apart. We learn next to nothing about them. The only ones I could pick out, are the interracial lesbian couple. All the other boring white people are interchangeable and bland as hell. Sara is the only character of note and is a little badass. But that may only be in comparison to her other 8 friends, who are all bland and cowardly.
Also, there is a large lag in the middle of the movie where nothing happens. We just see these horrid people goofing around in the mental hospital for way too long. This would have been fine if we learned anything about these people, but they all have the same awful personality so it is tough to distinguish them. We learn one guy is a prankster, but he looks so similar to another one of the male characters that I am not sure which one is which.
Overall, it is some fun, but it is empty fun. The kills are the best so far in the series, but with the characters being so awful, they lose a bit of luster. I guess it is worth watching if you like the slasher genre, but you will not be missing much if you skip this movie.
So overall, the franchise excels when it comes to gore but often falls short in writing and character. Have you seen any of the Wrong Turn movies? What did you think? Leave a comment, and suggest some other random horror movies for me to watch for next time.
Other Horror Movie Marathons