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If you go down to the woods today....
Wrong Turn (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Wrong Turn (DVD)
Advantages: Exciting, lovely location, tense, gory, action-packed
Disadvantages: Way over the top, the character of Carly, predictable, laughably ridiculous in parts
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 ~~
Summary: Ludicrously over the top, but very entertaining