Released : 2003
Running Time : 84 minutes
Director : Rob Schmidt
Rating : 18
Availability : currently priced from 1p (used) to £4.54 (new) on Amazon. A five DVD boxset is also available priced at £17.00.
Wrong Turn is the first installment of five films. It starts of with a couple rock climbing and meeting an untimely death. Fast forward a bit and Chris Flynn is on his way to an interview. He has to take a detour through the mountains of West Virginia as there is a blockage on the highway. He accidently crashes into a car and hooks up with a group of five friends. With two damaged cars, the group splits up to find help. The group are completely unaware of the cannibalistic, inbred men who live in the forrest. Who will survive?
Chris Flynn - Desmond Harrington
Jessie - Eliza Dushku
Carly - Emmanuelle Chriqui
Scott - Jeremy Sisto
Evan - Kevin Zegers
Francine - Lindy Booth
Three Finger - Julian Richings
Saw-Tooth - Garry Robbins
One-Eye - Ted Clark
My Wrong Turn DVD came as part of a box set of DVDs including two starring Desmond Harrington. I am quite fond of him as an actor and like The Hole and Ghost Ship (films where he plays a main role). There have now been five Wrong Turn films released and I would say that the first one was probably one of the best. The films have gradually become a bit more bizarre each time.
As far as hillbilly/mountain men films go, this one is just as good as The Hills Have Eyes. Aside from Desmond Harrington, the other cast members are unknown to me. I would say Chris Flynn (Harrington) has the main role anyway and is well used throughout the film. The plot is good but not unheard of or unique. It is based around a group of youngsters becoming lost in the forest and being hunted. The forest/mountain setting gives an instant indication that this is going to be a creepy film with plenty of gore and it really doesn't disappoint in this respect.
The film starts well with the rock climbing murder giving a good idea of what is to come in the film. Chris takes the lead role in his stride and takes charge of the group of youngsters. I can't say that many of the other character performances stand out as being spectacular. Carly is newly engaged to Scott and is rather irritating. She doesn't get the concept that you need to stay quiet to avoid being captured and is one of those typical, whining characters that everyone hates. Jessie gives a better performance and there is a good connection between her and Chris through the film. The other characters have relatively small roles and do not add much to the film in my opinion. I find that the surroundings and use of lighting and suspense music to be the main contributing factor to this film rather than the amazing acting.
The film develops well. It takes a short while for the film to pick up pace at the start but soon the group start to make some gruelling discoveries in a cabin within the woods. As time goes on, they become aware of the cannibals and are evidently scared and traumatised by what they witness. To be fair, I was quite sickened by some of the actions of the cannibals but not to the same extent as with similar films. I found this to be quite a freaky though not overly scary film. A particular uncomfortable scene was 'jaw dropping' and had me going 'ewwwww'.
Wrong Turn does have some suspense aspects. It is never quite known when the cannibals will sneak up on you. The cannibals or hillbillies themselves are quite funny. They are badly deformed through years of inbreeding and are exceptionally scrawny and ugly. Their laughs are highly irritating and echo through the forest at regular intervals. I know this was probably to alert the group that they were nearby and to be very scared indeed. With this being the first Wrong Turn film, I feel it would have been better to add a bit of background history of how these mountain men came to be who they are.
This film relies heavily on violence, slashings and general nastiness. The cannibals rely on axes, bows and arrows and other awful contraptions to lure and kill their prey. I feel that the murders were quite varied rather than predictable and samey like with other films. This definitely makes the film more appealing and it doesn't becoming boring. There is a lot of blood and gore in the film and whilst it isn't as awful and visual as with other slasher films, it isn't for the faint hearted.
As far as hillbilly films go, Wrong Turn does have a sense of realism. The group do exactly what most would do when faced with being chased by a bunch of inbreds with no where to go except further into the forest. The fear factor is there and executed well in my opinion. The film comes to a fine and satisfying conclusion. The follow up films, whilst based around the cannibals, do not feature any of the original cast except for Three Finger (who is played by a different actor) and are quite different in terms of plot.
I have watched this film on several occasions and really never tire of it. I find it entertaining yet mildly scary. The first time I watched it was as part of a DVD night with several others and we enjoyed it but I am fine watching it myself. I find it to be well directed and acted but not entirely original.
The 18 rating is a little too high in my opinion. Aside from the blood and gore, there is a mild reference to sex, some swearing and drug taking but nothing particularly offensive to someone of a slightly younger age.
I would recommend Wrong Turn but don't expect anything outstanding or new.
Thanks for reading :)
RELEASED: 2003, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 84 mins
DIRECTOR: Rob Schmidt
PRODUCERS: Erik Feig, Robert Kulzer & Stan Winston
SCREENPLAY: Alan B McElroy
MUSIC: Elia Cmiral
Desmond Harrington as Chris
Eliza Dushku as Jessie
Emanuelle Chriqui as Carly
Jeremy Sisto as Scott
Julian Richings as Three Finger
Garry Robbins as Saw Tooth
Ted Clark as One Eye
FILM ONLY REVIEW
A young couple is climbing up a rock-face. The guy gets to the top, with the girl underneath asking for a hand upwards, only to see him fall down dead at the summit. He then rolls over and drops down the chasm, already dead before the fall...and it is obvious he was pushed. The girl struggles in an attempt to escape whatever is at the top of the rock, then falls to her own death.
The scene then changes to Chris, who is driving to an important meeting and gets stuck in non-moving traffic. He is informed by one of the other drivers in the traffic queue that the road won't be clear for a couple of hours. Chris then decides to try and take the back roads route, hoping to miss the snarl-up and make his meeting on time. On his way, he stops off at a log cabin to use the phone, but the owner of the cabin - a true blue mountain man - is borderline hostile, and Chris finds the public pay-phone there doesn't work anyway. He consults a map stuck to the cabin's outer wall, and prepares to drive off and find a road which is indicated on the map. On leaving the man in the cabin, Chris bids him to take care, and as he drives away, the man mutters under his breath... "It's you who ought to take care."
Whilst driving along a road which is little more than a dirt-track, leading deep into the West Virginian woods, Chris accidentally crashes into the back of a stationery vehicle which belongs to a group of friends, which had burst tyres caused by a stinger-type object made of barbed wire that had been fixed across the dust road.
After the group accepts Chris's apologies, he, Scott, Carly and Jessie agree to set off and try to find help, leaving their other two friends behind...who, on the group's return, they find butchered to death.
From that point onwards, Chris, Scott, Carly and Jessie have to rely on their wits to avert suffering the same fate as the other pair...as someone or something murderous is on the loose in the forest.
Just before the first scene of Chris getting stuck in traffic, the open credits to Wrong Turn are quite fast-flashing images of newspaper cuttings and snippets of medical reports about what can go wrong when in-breeding runs rife, such as in places like the very rural parts of West Virginia mountain communities. Right away, that sets a chilling, albeit somewhat predictable scene in that it is obvious the viewer is about to launch into watching a film whereby the 'bad guy or guys' is or are mountain men spawned from in-breeding.
The atmosphere of the film is set very well in that there is a fairly sinister mood present, but it is far too much like the 1972 classic, Deliverance. However, such is acknowledged when Scott refers to it whilst negotiating with Chris, Carly and Jessie as to what they are going to do in order to get help.
Once the nasties get underway, Wrong Turn becomes extremely gory in parts, as Chris, Carly, Scott and Jessie are pursued by a small group of bizarre, flesh-eating mountain men (Three Finger, Saw Tooth and One Eye). The makeup used to create this cannibalistic trio is almost laughable....nobody human really looks like that, no matter how deformed.
The acting is OK by the whole cast, but I found the character of Carly to be intensely irritating. I got almost angry with her constant stupid questions, such as "What's happening?", "Where did they go?", "What are they doing now?" and similar, to the point where I wanted to scream at her to shut the f*** up for five minutes as how the hell would anybody know the answers? She is also a bit dippy, and a whimpering wet rag when that was the last thing the rest of the gang needed her to be. However, in one way I did feel a little bit sorry for her, but to find out why, you'd have to watch the film yourself. Her character is compensated for by Jessie, who overall is a far more together, gutsy young woman.
The music to Wrong Turn is quite percussive, urgent-sounding orchestral, and very dramatic in parts, but it does suit what is going on in the film fairly well.
Similarly to Deliverance, Wrong Turn is a film which contrasts the darker side of the human condition with an absolutely lovely geographical setting, but Deliverance does it so much better. Whereas Deliverance exudes, almost right from the start, a very realistic sinister atmosphere which is true to life, Wrong Turn, although it is sinister to begin with, misses the spot a bit....probably because even early on, you know it is going to rely on blood, guts and gore for its thrills, whereas Deliverance remains realistic throughout, which overall makes it far more sinister than Wrong Turn.
There are a couple of points in Wrong Turn where I jumped a little bit, and although as said above the film is richly splattered with blood and body parts, I have seen much more graphic presentations of flesh mutilation in films than this. However, it is still pretty gory. The parts which made me jump actually had nothing to do with the horror element, being more centred around situations where people had to make sharp moves or when a loud noise crashed through the speakers into my brain.
The tension levels in Wrong Turn are quite respectable, although I would have preferred to see the mountain men element put across far more convincingly, and the taunting that took place to have been something which could possibly happen for real....but then it would veer far too close to Deliverance for comfort.
The storyline is pretty much predictable in that it's a group of people trying to get away from and outwit their pursuers, relying on their wits and strategy...which is nothing new in this movie genre. However, the whole thing is filmed pretty well, with some rather good and imaginative camera shots being used that serve to enhance the atmosphere to a degree.
Wrong Turn is a film which is high on entertainment value, although it does get far too stupid as the action and tension mount. Another film it here and there put me in mind of is The Hills Have Eyes, it overall coming across as a combination of that and Deliverance. The killers are grossly over-portrayed, with lots of grunting, slurping, sucking noises and are more like creatures from early episodes of Dr. Who than the result of small mountain community in-breeds, coming across as laughable rather than scary. However, the man who Chris encounters close to the beginning of the film is far more realistic, being typical of a backwoods West Virginian rural mountain dweller.
If you like slasher-type horror films, Wrong Turn could be something you'd enjoy very much, but I wouldn't recommend that anybody who has an aversion to watching flesh being cut up should watch it. I personally was very entertained, but it isn't something I'd choose to see again, simply because I now know the outcome.
Overall, I'd say that Wrong Turn is a predictable, but high-action and enjoyable (if that is the right word) piece of entertainment which although I'd not file it in the 'bad movie' bucket, wouldn't manage to reach my all-time favourites list. It is over the top and throwaway, but does have some interesting, fairly gripping moments. If you are of an easily rattled disposition though, it might be better to give it a miss.
At the time of writing, Wrong Turn can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.51 to £27.91
Used: from 1p to £15.22
Collectible: only 2 copies currently available @ £2.00 and £6.99
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Wrong Turn was released in 2003, and falls firmly into the horror/slasher genre. Directed by Rob Schmidt, it is set deep in the woods of West Virginia. Chris Flynn, a medical student late for an interview, takes a supposed shortcut through the backroads of the forest. Swerving off the road and into a car full of vacationing students, the group trek through the woods to find help. However, it soon becomes apparent that their respective accidents were no accidents - and before long, they are in a fight for their lives as the inbred and cannibalistic forest dwellers hunt them down.
The plot is pretty paint-by-numbers horror movie, and I can easily count half a dozen films within the genre with the same plot. All of these were of course inspired by the 1970s classic, Deliverence, where a similar premise saw a group of men fighting for their survival as they are chased by insane mountainfolk. However, with this stale concept, there are some surprises. The first is the quality of acting - while there are a handful of throwaway actors, these are balanced by the formidable acting talents of Eliza Dushku (who has proven herself on the small-screen on Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kevin Zegers and Desmond Harrington (who now appears on Showtime's 'Dexter'). Dushku and Harrington make for really compelling leads, with them pulling off the physicality required for such roles and also providing a lot of unspoken and unresolved sexual chemistry. Their charismatic performances really carry the film, and their respective talents breathe a little life into the slightly flimsy characters on screen.
The adrenaline filled plot movies relentlessly, and there is never a moment in which you feel like you are losing interest. With a runtime of around eighty minutes, there is really no dip in the pacing, which is a testament in some degree to the quality of the storytelling. I am a huge fan of the horror genre, but in terms of shocks and gore, there is really very little bloodshed shown on screen and very few jumpy moments. It feels more like a thriller as I felt my heart pounding due to the suspense, as opposed to anything particularly explicit on-screen. With chases through the woods, dodging flying arrows and tense climbs through the trees; as the film progressed, it was clear that the director's focus was on the hunt and not the kill. I think ultimately, this was a good thing because the rise of 'torture porn' (i.e. senseless and excessive bloodshed in films with no reason other than to pad out meagre plots) has essentially cheapened the impact of many films in the genre. It also keeps the momentum going, as you see the film more from the perspective of those who are surviving, so you feel their fear and urgency, as opposed to dwelling on those characters who have been lost.
I suppose the major problem with the movie was the way in which the forest people were presented. In 'Deliverance' and 'the Texas Chainsaw Massacre', what truly made the adversaries chilling was how human they were. 'Wrong Turn's mountainfolk felt like... monsters. The make-up was oddly unconvincing, which is surprising, given that other elements of the movie appear very high-budget. The animalistic grunts and the lack of backstory means they aren't particularly chilling, and seem darkly comical at times (I doubt the director intended that). It seems that our fear of the group's adversaries relied on our other forays into the genre, and assumed we were all familiar with the backstories of 'the Hills Have Eyes' or 'Deliverance' to know how and why these people were this way.
I think ultimately 'Wrong Turn's strengths lie in the two lead actors, the adrenaline-fuelled plot and the high-quality set pieces. However, the film makes little to no effort to add its own unique twist to this very tried-and-tested plot. It entertained me, and the hour and twenty minutes flew past, but there was no lingering sense of unsettlement or discomfort, which I always rather masochistically enjoy. It is definitely an enjoyable way to pass an evening, and is definitely more tame than most horrors, so would probably appeal to those who prefer thrillers as opposed to gore. It is not especially memorable, but similarly, there is not much to critically savage the film about it. Quite simply, your basic cookie-cutter horror.
Running: 84 minutes
Director: Ron Schmidt
Country: United States
Desmond Harrington as Chris Flynn
Eliza Dushku as Jessie Burlingame
Emmanuelle Chriqui as Carly
Jeremy Sisto as Scott
Lindy Booth as Francine
Kevin Zegers as Evan
The movie starts very dramatic with two mountain climbers are being killed. You don't see who killed them but you hear this strange laughing. The movie continues with a man, named Chris, driving a car, who has to take different route, because the road is blocked. This route leads him further into the forest. Suddenly he sees a death dear and gets distracted that he doesn't noticed the car in front of him and drives straight into it. He's unharmed, but not his car and the other car, which was already standing still. The people of the other car, a group of five teenagers where stranded and three of them decides to walk with Chris back down the route to find a phone. A couple stay behind with the car, but soon enough they get some unpleasant company. Also the rest of the group don't manage to find a phone but they sure find something really unpleasant!
Jessie is one of the teenagers of the car and is being played by Eliza Duskhu and the only actor I know in this movie. Eliza has played in the television show Buffy the Vampire slayer and more recently in the show Dollhouse. She always plays a though person, who you better not get into a fight with, but she definitely shows a more vulnerable and softer side. She has to because her character sees some pretty disturbing things. Desmond Harrington plays the part of Chris Flynn, a medical student who crashes into the other car. Very unlucky for him and he's shocked in the beginning but then gets tougher during the movie and is more the one that take cares of the other ones, especially Jessie. A nice performance and he comes across very believable. I think all the actors where pretty good in this movie and they really brought their fear across the screen.
There are a few extra's on the DVD such as commentary of the director who tells about his experience with shooting the scenes of the movie and working with the actors. There are also a few interviews with the crew and cast on the DVD and a making off the movie, where you get a look behind the scenes. Nice amount of extras which gives you some more information about the movie.
I really enjoyed this scary horror movie! The first time I heard about this movie I knew I wanted to see it straight away and was curious about the horrific scenes that are in the movie. The movie doesn't disappoint and brings the fear across the screen. The movie is about cannibalism, where people in a remote forest trap travellers with only one goal and that's to kill and eat them. Scary thought and especially when you see the stuff of the people they killed in their house, like a doll, it's really creepy. The movie starts off really well with the two people being killed, but you don't actually see who kills them. It makes it scarier, because you want to know who did it. Later on when the group arrives they don't take too long with introducing the characters. Long enough so you get involved, but not too long that it gets boring. I would really recommend this movie but not for people with a weak stomach!
Starring a bunch of little known, photogenic American actors/actresses, 'Wrong Turn' is a fairly generic horror film in which a group of travellers in the backwoods of the US find themselves stranded in an isolated forest road after crashing their vehicles, soon discovering that they are not alone as they begin being hunted by a ravenous gang of mutant, cannibal hillbillies that have been feeding off passers by for many years.
The film borrows heavily from 'The Hills Have Eyes', and to its credit the hillbillies themselves are portrayed very well, consisting of savage and grotesque-looking hunter-gatherers that live in a ramshackle farmouse adjacent to a huge field full of the cars of previous victims, setting traps for their human prey and hunting them with bows and bladed weapons.
The film goes really over the top on the gore front, and a particularly nasty scene sees a couple hiding under a table inside the farmhouse whilst giggling mutant hacks one of their murdered friends to pieces on the table above, and though the film is in every way generic and resorts to dodgy cgi graphics on occasion, its monsters are convincing enough and the action tense enough to make it reasonably engaging to watch, whilst the performances of the central characters, whilst unremarkable, are at least competent throughout.
Not a brilliant or original film then, but my the standards of modern Hollywood, 'Wrong Turn' is a better-than-average horror in the vein of 'The Hills Have Eyes', and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'.
Desmond Harrington ... Chris Flynn
Eliza Dushku ... Jessie Burlingame
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Carly
Jeremy Sisto ... Scott
Kevin Zegers ... Evan
Lindy Booth ... Francine
Julian Richings ... Three Finger
Garry Robbins ... Saw-Tooth
Ted Clark ... One-Eye
Whilst on his way to a job interview, Chris Finn finds himself in a huge traffic jam so decides to take a short cut through forests and deep woods in America's deep south. He has obviously never seen the film Deliverance, or he would have stayed well away! During this short cut he takes a...
...just as the title of the film suggests may well happen. Accidentally running into an oncoming vehicle, he soon joins forces with five other soon-to-be-killed young and beautiful folk and they begin to search for a help.
Now, this is a horror film and it boasts such phrases as 'Not for the faint hearted,' so rather than be surprised or even enthralled by the story, you are just waiting for the next person to be killed. And - boy - are they killed! There seems to be a deranged band of deformed cannibalistic lunatics roaming the woods with sharp things that they use to kill people with.
The great Stan Winston (Special effects supremo) is associated with this film and it was directed by Rob Schmidt. Desmond Harrington plays Chris and other stars include Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto. With a running time of 84 minutes it is just about right in length. It is a quick dose of pure horror.
Guess you must wonder if I liked it?
Well, I did enjoy it. It was your typical teenagers-go-into-the-woods-and-meet-psycho(s)-with-sharp-knifes, sure, but it was told well and had a few bits of ingenuity to it as well.
This film is not particuarly scary, but it get me everytime, i absoulutly hate these types of film, where you have a group of attractive young people and you know they are all going to die!
The 5 youngsters are on a road trip hence the film title, they take a 'wrong turn' as does a snazzy young guy in a siut on his way to a job interview. Trapped alone in the forest, they stumble across a lonley house, thinking they have been saved, they sigh relief, until that is they are set upon by some starnge inbred canabalistic creatures. The 'road trip' then becomes a battle of wit. The youngsters are trying desperatly to contact the authorities and escape with thier lives.
The film is very simmilar to other films such as 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. The acting is fairly poor, but i think this is because the plot line is so predicatable. However the film despite this it is fairly good. they storyline helps keep you in suspense and you may find yourself willing the youngsters to escape.
I do find these films educational, in a sense of, Im never gonna take shortcuts through woods with a group of my friends in tow!!
I got my hands on a Wrong turn DVD by coincidence. Not expecting anything special, just something to kill time that I have and I was bored. But I was surprised, how good turned out to be.
Story that movie tells is about six people lost in the woods somewhere in USA (Virginia more exactly). More strange than that they are all good looking. Chris Flynn (played Desmond Harrington), gets in an accident in the middle of the woods, hitting a car that was in stuck in the middle of the road. That is how he meets five friends that are in this wood trying to camp on the area. But suddenly they become a target of strange, deformed and very violet men (if you can call them that). Killing everything, using bows and arrows, axes, kniws on the moust brutal way. So blood, guts, body parts are all over the place. They bring what is left of the bodies to there cabin and store them for latter to eat.
They are killing our group of six one by one. Chasing them thro the wood, pushing them to their limits. In the end Chris and Jessie Burlingame (played by very sexy Eliza Dushku) are the only one survive, bringing the fight to them, blowing and shooting them up.
Wrong turn is a horror move that has everything that you need. Sexy women (and in this movie the man are good looking also), violet deaths, interesting and fresh idea, even the acting is good, maybe a little lacking in scary moments.
Take a trip to the back of beyond & start having a very bad day.
Its far too much like a lot of other horror flicks in this genre. A bunch of people being chased through a forest by people who want to kill them for no reason at all.
We start with 2 rock climbers getting brutally killed and you know the film is going to be pretty blood ridden. Then we see a guy in a hurry to an interview. He isn't ever going to get there but that's not important. It's the fact that he took a short cut. And was drink driving. (Yes, I saw the beer he was chugging from in his hand. Not many people notice that).
Then crashes into a Range Rover because he isn't looking where he's driving. How can a cd be so important that you have to keep driving while you aren't even looking? I'd rather he died right there. He deserved it.
Then we meet the people he hit. Forget 2 of them because they are dead within minutes of us meeting them. Bye Bye Stoner Bloke, Bye Bye Lindy Booth (or least it looks like her & having checked her resume it IS her!). The car the bloke hit was stopped by barbed wire and we find out this was a trap left by inbred mountain men who trap, kill and eat people.
There aren't many scares, most of the film is predictable and the fact that one of the three mountain men is seen to have survived an explosion is really obvious. I hope they don't bother making a sequel.
"Slasher" (from the verb "to slash") is the name of a particular horror sub-genre. In this type of movies, we usually follow a group of teenagers (generally high and horny) as they are massacred by a crazy or deformed (or maybe even both, and that's the worst case scenario... for the victims, not for the audience) killer. 70s are considered the Golden Age of slasher movies, with masterpieces like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Halloween"... both ruined by pointless sequels, but we'll talk about it next time.
What's the point of this introduction? Well, I think it's impossible to talk about "Wrong Turn" without knowing what a slasher is.
TITLE: Wrong Turn
DIRECTOR: Rob Schmidt
US RATING: R (under 17s are admitted only if accompanied)
MAIN ACTORS: Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, Jeremy Sisto, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lindy Booth
PLOT SYNOPSIS: Medicine student takes a shortcut because the main road is heavily trafficked and hits the car of five young boys and girls (OK, you're in the middle of nowhere, but you should still park the car properly!). They look for help and they find a group of deformed cannibals!
Rob Schmidt said it clearly: this movie is a 70s throwback. Call it a homage to classical horror movies, call it a blatant rip-off, it doesn't really make a difference.
The characters are as stereotypical and by the numbers as they can: we have the horny couple (hey, didn't you see "Scream"? If you have sex in a horror movie, you die!!!), the loving couple, the apparently tough chick, the stupid cop, the weird gas station attendant, the funny black guy... no, the funny black guy isn't there. I didn't miss him, anyway.
If you are used to horror movies, you'll have no problems in guessing (or should I say stating?) who will survive and who will die; obviously, the characters that are supposed to die will make a clearly wrong choice at every given occasion. They should be put in the book "How to survive in a horror movie", chapter "Bad examples".
So: average plot, stereotypical and completely clueless characters... this should be a real stinker. Instead it works. The location is perfect: those woods are very scary! The director also chooses to give us only a few glimpses of the deformed cannibals (at least until the third act kicks in), and I think it's a good choice: sometimes, it's far more frighetning when you don't see the "bad guys".
The acting ranges from mediocre to pretty good (a good news, as the script is not that great), but I must say my judgement was probably influenced by all those beauties: Lindy Booth, Emmannuelle Chriqui and the divine Eliza Dushku!
But the real highlight of this movie is the gore factor. Director Schmidt, unlike many other newcomers, isn't shy to show killings in all their graphic detail. No flash-cuts here, guys. And a couple of death scenes are quite original, too!
Ok, I think that's all. I hope you enjoyed the reading!
This film is currently showing on Film 4 - the channel that seemed a really good film channel before it became free to viewers last year. This is a review of the film and not the DVD... as if I'd buy that.
"Wrong Turn" portrays the tale of a group of 6 pretty young things, three men and three women, out on a camping trip. They all come together when their two cars take the wrong turn in the back woods of Louisiana. One car runs over some barbed wire purposely left across the road causing it to skid and crash into another car heading in the opposite direction. Everyone survives the crash but it's not long before they run into trouble in the shape of three gruesome mountain men who are the ones that set the trap and who have been living in the woods so long they've turned cannibal.
The campers find themselves in the middle of a forest where mobile phones conveniently receive no reception and there doesn't seem to be a garage or burger bar for miles around. Most of the group decide to walk back the way they came with the hope of finding help while two remain behind with their dilapidated vehicles. Little do they know that three hairy retards in dirty overalls are watching them from the trees, licking their lips at the tasty meal in their midst. Needless to say the two stay behinds are the first ingredients on the menu list.
The characters who make up the camping party in the film are not too annoying. The only recognizable actors for me were Eliza Dushku from Buffy and Desmond Harrington who has made a few duff movies. I can't say the acting overall was that bad but like the movie, the individual characters are rather predictable. You won't care what happens to them and most of them are gradually and deservedly knocked off one by one - usually with an axe to the head - before they are dragged back to the meat hut to be chopped up ready for the cooking pot.
Those employed in the make up department must have been on speed when they set to work on the hairy disfigured cannibals. You never really get to see their faces for most of the film which is just as well because they look ridiculous. Well put it this way, if you met any of them out in the woods on a dark night, you're more likely to burst out laughing than shiver in your boots. Meeting Bill Oddie would be far scarier. None of the cannibals talk but instead grunt and gargle except for a skinny one who prances about laughing in a squeaky voice. It all makes you wonder how on earth these hillbilly mutants buy petrol for their truck and ammo for their shotguns. One can only guess what their after dinner conversations must be like. And don't they get tired of having meatballs for dinner everyday? We get to see their grim log cabin when the rest of the happy campers (they are all quite happy up to this point) stumble into it just before they meet their foe who are on their way back for supper. The cabin is supposed to be so dirty and disgusting, but it just looks comical. One of campers discovers something cooking on the stove in a big pot and is disgusted to find that there is no veg nor seasoning. There is a slab where the prime joints are no doubt laid out and cut. The bath tub full of grunge and body parts might explain why the cannibals look as if they haven't had a wash since soap was invented.
The movie follows a familiar mindless plot. Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Blair Witch Project come to mind but these films are in a different class and far more effective. Even if I was a fan of the genre, this film really has nothing new to offer and is a weak effort in every department. The climax to the movie is a whimpering finale that left me falling asleep as opposed to being on the edge of my seat. Maybe gore just isn't gory anymore. Even vegetarians won't find this meaty movie scary. The only one good thing about the film was the scenery and location - it certainly does look like a nice place to go camping.
Running Time: 1 hr 38 minutes.
Directed by Rob Schmidt.
Produced by Brian J. Gilbert, Robert Kulzer, Stan Winston.
Written by Alan McElroy.
Starring Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Lindy Booth, Julian Richings, Kevin Zegers, Garry Robbins, Ted Clark.
Whilst trying to get to a very important interview Chris Flynn meets horrendous traffic that apparently wont clear up for hours. On an important deadline, he decides to turn back and find a shortcut, after a while he drives into an old gas station and tries to use the broken pay phone. Receiving a less than enthusiastic greeting from the shops owner, he just looks at a map attached to one of the walls, and discovers a shortcut through the woods, which should get him to his destination well in time. Whilst travelling through his new route, he smashes into a van, rendering his car unusable and hurting his back, on the crash site he meets the owners of the other car -who have just discovered that their vehicle broke down because somebody set a long piece of barbed wire across the road- and joins up with three of them (the plucky Jessie Burlingame, slightly annoying Carly and the love struck Scott) to find some help, leaving two of the twenty something's back at the crash site where they quite happily proceed in having as much sex and drugs as possible, but wait, isn't that a shadow lurking behind the trees?
What started out as a short cut and day trip turns out to be a frantic fight for survival, after the young group are forced to see their friends get eaten by mutated cannibals and discover some horrific discoveries in their lair. In the overcrowded forest where the inhabitants are inbred murderers, the trees have eyes and there's no place to hide will our brave group of explorers escape with their lives?
Wrong Turn made quite a splash in 2003 as there was only limited advertising buzz surrounding it, due to even the tamer scenes being too 'intense' to make trailers out of and what they did show disgusted many movie goers, but to be honest I don't think this movie is all about gore. Wrong Turn succeeds where other recent horror flicks have failed because it doesn't rely on gore to scare the audience it is just there to make the viewers squirm (one scene in the hut, when the cannibals eat a young woman is particularly grizzly) but the real trick is in the slow building tension, that this little thriller establishes so well. I don't think I could say that I was scared by this film, but I can tell you that I was on the edge of my seat for the most part -and covering my eyes for the rest- by the end I felt battered as this film is a no holds barred attempt at film making and actually, much to my surprise works very well.
By the end of the opening credits we are aware that this isn't going to be a 'nice movie' so all the fear are already established inside of you, so throughout the first fifteen minutes (which is used to do a bit of characterisation and background) you are waiting for something scary to happen even though there is no sign of it. Largely the success of Wrong Turn can be put down to its location. The woods offer a wonderfully claustrophobic sense to the movie making the audience fell closed in with these characters and offers a whole arsenal of places and weapons that the mad killers can hide in and use which again works to keep the viewers hyped up and expectant.
I am pleased to say, that for a teenage horror flick the performances in Wrong Turn are actually fairly good. Desmond Harrington is convincing as he strong doctor, I believed in his character and his bravery and strength and also thought that he allowed the more emotional aspects of his role shine through (even though the characterisation is very minimal) Desmond delivers the dialogue with professionalism and gathers a good chemistry with cast (it is most potent with Dushku)
Eliza Dushku is one of my favourite young actresses at the moment, she always seems to understand her role and establish an emotional bond with the audience, making her instantly likeable. Her role in Wrong Turn is thankfully not just the virginal blonde who eventually develops some brain cells and discovers who the murderer is, Jesse actually is quite spunky and intelligent which makes a nice change. Dushku is again wholly convincing in her role and suits it perfectly adding a lot to the production and rising above the standards of most recent Hollywood horrors.
Surprisingly the script for Wrong Turn (penned by Alan B. McElroy) is very unhollywoodish and fairly intelligent, there are attempts at keeping the characters human as we do get a bit of emotion trickle through and the premise although unoriginal and unrealistic allows for a lot of avenues to be explored, the well scripted 'frightening scenes' are often hair raising and the action is structured well, never allowing to pace to become slow. Sadly though Wrong Turns screenplay is far from perfect, a lot of the backup characters are wooden and two dimensional, some of the elaborately gory set pieces are over the top and some of the decisions that the young group make are excruciatingly unrealistic.
Steering away from the self consciousness post modern horror flicks that now come out in droves Rob Schmidt opts for the more serious slasher film, but his direction cant hold the film together, even though the potential was there. To me his direction is rather slap dash and self indulgent, instead of concentrating on real scares he tries to make the gore matter more (thankfully the script kept him on a leash, there is a real sense that he was limited and couldn't just run wild with the film) Schmidt does not orchestrate the physical effects very well and doesn't give his talented cast chance to shine. It is a shame that his efforts to steer his film weren't more successful as this had the idea and ambition to become a modern day classic.
One of the main problems I had with Wrong Turn, is that it runs out of steam pretty quickly. As the cast is relatively small the body count isnt very high, which means that although the thrills stay up for the final quarter as only a few survivors try to escape, it stops becoming a fast and furious horror and turns into and edgy thriller, which may disappoint some horror veterans (something I am most defiantly not)
Stan Winston was brought in to do the makeup for wrong turn and makes three horrific villains that manage to become quite scary. Overall I thought that Wrong Turn was a fairly good thriller, that rose above most instalments in its rather clogged up genre because of decent death sequences, alright acting and plotting.
You Can Buy Wrong Turn On DVD For: £8.97
I've got to admit that I went into Wrong Turn with extremely low expectations. I'd heard the films reputation as the latest cheesy horror movie to hit the market, and well, we have to face facts here. The old story of a group of teenagers trapped in the woods with a group of crazed, cannibalistic inbreeds is hardly anything new. What else could I expect but a lame rehash of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Yet I found myself drawn to the watching the film, I'd had a bad day, was in a bad mood and just wanted something to complain about. Unfortunately director Rob Schmidt couldn't provide me with what I was looking for, he had to take the wrong turn himself and produce one of the most intense American horror movies I've seen in years. (before people start complaining, I'm not into the supernatural so there's obviously going to be certain films I haven't seen.)
It didn't always look that way though. At the start I was sitting in my seat in full complaining mode as I sat through one of those lame, clichéd pre title scares. It really was bad, 2 incredibly dumb hikers are taking some recreation time. The girl is stuck asking for help and the guy is ignoring every word of it, until he suddenly goes quiet and the audience guesses the reason why. You can guess how it goes from there, someone throws his body off the edge, she drops, then she runs and as she gets within a few feet of her car she trips. She looks up at the car and an unseen person drags her back into the woods. Absolutely nothing new there then, and a totally useless scene designed to tell the audience that "there's something bad in the woods." Of course it's a fair bet that in a room full of people who chose to watch the film, the majority of the audience knew this already.
Anyway, after the decidedly creepy credits the film continues on with it's traditional nonsense. Guy decides that with the highway in a major traffic jam, the only way he wont be late for his job interview is to cut through a mountain road in the woods, but along the way he bumps into another car damaging his own in the process. the Dr, and 3 of the passengers from the other car decide to head off back to civilization leaving the 2 remaining friends to wait alone by the cars. In true horror movie tradition they decide to get up to what teenagers get up to in the woods, and then die immediately after. Yet from this point on, and for some strange reason, the film suddenly gets good. The characters who went off, find an empty shack and since it's empty they decide to investigate. The inside of the shack is very Silent Hill in it's design, with it's rusty fridge freezer's, which store things you'll be glad you'll never see, and a quick search of the shack reveals it to be a slaughter house. Schmidt draws the scene out for all it's worth as the cannibals arrive home and the characters have to hide.
The camera work used keeps rapidly cutting between the characters hiding under the bed and the characters in the cupboard. Neither of which have a very good view of what's happening, but combined can see just enough to make the scene scary. For the first time in the film you find yourself involved in the film. You still don't really care about the characters themselves, but you do feel like you yourself are there with them. The audience member becomes a character, trapped in a cabin hiding, whilst crazed cannibals cut up a corpse mere inches from you. It's a feeling that's then carried throughout the film, as none of the characters ever get developed yet you can still relate. It's like all of your worst Nightmares placed on the screen, and as such the atmosphere is unrelenting. The cannibals that follow the party never get bored of hunting them, and every time the characters think they've lost them they prove themselves right there. This means that there is never a chance for big exposition scenes because the film happens in exactly the same way as a nightmare, which, in my experience, rarely leave time for conversation.
In fact the nightmarish nature of the film was so strong, that by the time the film reaches it's most memorable set piece, in the tree tops no less, I was almost willing myself to wake up just to get some relief from the unrelenting nightmare. It doesn't come though. With the exception of a quick reference to Deliverance, that to be fair did come before the film got good, Wrong Turn is not a film that tries to rely on irony. This is a path that is seemingly essential for any modern horror movie released in America, but by ignoring the very notion of humour Wrong Turn is able to intensify the horror of the situation even more.
Before I end this review though I would like to give some credit to makeup artist Stan Winston who's work went a long way to building the atmosphere of the film. While the fast editing on the kills themselves mimics the quick, and largely painless deaths, Winston's work on the after effects make the deaths seem much more unpleasant. I don't really like gore in my movies, and yet I can't imagine Wrong Turn working without the extremely detailed effects by Winston, because the very knowledge of what will happen to the bodies gives the characters an even bigger reason to try to live. (though parents and anyone who is offended by violence will want to avoid it for this reason. I probably wouldn't watch it again myself because it is very graphic) However it's in the creature effects on the inbred cannibals where he gets to be the most creative. These people look entirely convincing and each of them have their own unique characteristics. My favorite has to be the little one, who's energy and enthusiasm for the kill reminded me greatly of Leatherface, history's most memorable inbred cannibal. It's a shame that I have to make the comparison but it can't be avoided, because there's no denying that in it's story Wrong Turn is very similar to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yet that film was made 30 years ago and so it's nice to see that in a time where nearly every slasher movie has to be dripping in irony, that a film can be released that is serious, intense and just plain scary.
Sadly, while I was well prepared to grant the film 4 stars the ending spoiled things. I wont spoil it here but, like the start, the closing act reeks of studio intervention. It's a film that would have benefited from a more negative, less mainstream ending, but since that is not the case it has to lose points for leaving the audience with a lack of the adrenaline it had filled them with previously.
If you go down to the woods today, you?re sure of a big surprise. If you go down to the woods today you?d better not close your eyes. Because far from bears are men with sharp glares and very big scary knives. You know it?s just one of those days when you?re late for an important meeting, you?re met with a traffic jam so you decide to take the back roads. Only you have an accident with another car and there?s not a phone in sight. So you go in a group in search of help, but what you encounter are a bunch of inbred mountain men with cannibal tendencies. This is what happens to Chris Flynn, his wrong turn leads to hell. No one is safe as he bands together with a bunch of teens including the very nubile Eliza Dushku. However they?re lost and they?re prey. Wrong Turn has a very simple concept. In fact it?s nothing more that your usual gory horror film but it?s one that works purely because it keeps itself very tight and very tense. This film reminded me of the dirty old horror movies of the seventies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it also has hints of Deliverance and surely takes influences from a number of video nasties such as I Spit On Your Grave. What the film does is not shy away from the subject matter. This is not a film for those with a weak constitution as you get to see some of the mountain men?s cannibal exploits on screen, It?s not amusing like Hannibal, it?s actually pretty un-nerving. Director Rob Schmidt creates a good environment within the film. There are a great number of set pieces such as a silent stalking though the woodland at night. There is also one shock moment that easily rivals anything in Final Destination. It?s something you just don?t seen coming. The mountain men are well realized with Stan Winston?s make-up effects creating some very grotesque individuals. One of them by the name of Three Finger is particularly frightening with his weasel movements and Lecter style noises. Desmond Harrington and
Dushku are also good in the main roles. Dushku is far from the damsel in distress and is a strong female lead while Harrington plays the male hero role well. I also appreciate any film that doesn?t go down the predictable route of having a happy ending where the two fall in love after their hellish journey. Now I?m not saying that Wrong Turn is an amazing film, it?s limited concept means it can?t reach those heights but it?s a film that was much better than I expected. For example it could have filled it?s sou dtrack with rock music but it doesn?t do that, it goes for unsettling score instead. Wrong Turn does exactly what it says on the tin and for once isn?t the sugar coated kind of horror you?ve come to expect.