Starring: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy
Sisto, Kevin Zegers, Lindy Booth

Directed by: Rob Schmidt

Story: Six people find themselves trapped in the woods of West Virginia,
hunted down by "cannibalistic mountain men grossly disfigured through
generations of in-breeding."


Review:

Despite what the title says, this film makes all the right choices. In the movie
Wrong Turn we follow Chris Finn, a man who is driving through the
mountains of West Virginia on his way to a job interview. On the way he
encounters really bad traffic. It turns out that there was a chemical spill on
the road, so being short on time he asks one of the truck drivers if there was
another route he could take to pass the traffic. Chris then decides to take a
different route and ends up getting lost. He takes a wrong turn and ends up
crashing into another car. After the accident he meets a group of friends who
were on a camping trip. The group was on their way back home when their
tires got slashed by barbed wire laying on the road. Together, Chris and the
gang look for a way out. Later the group ends up being stalked and killed off
by three deformed men who carry bows, arrows, knives and other weapons
in which they "hunt" with. The cannibalistic mountain men have been
disfigured from years of in-breeding. The group then makes a mad dash for
their lives through the woods, hoping to make it out alive.

This plot has been played out many times. We've seen a ton of movies like
this back in the late 70's and early 80's. One film in particular that comes to
mind is Wes Craven's 1977 shocker "The Hills Have Eyes." This film has a
similar story to that one. But I wouldn't go as far to say that Wrong Turn is
a "rip-off," because it really isn't. Wrong Turn is a throwback to the
disgusting slashers of the past. What Wrong Turn has that the old films
don't have much of is content. If you look at old films like Craven's Hills Have
Eyes and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you'll notice that the
films are very low on content. Surprisingly, they both got an X rating when
they were submitted to the MPAA. Why? Because of their incredible and
disturbing shock value. Both of those movies terrified audiences back when
they were released, and Wrong Turn is no different. This film is essentially
scary and disturbing. Wrong Turn is basically a modern day combination of
"The Hills Have Eyes" and "Deliverance." This is a no holds barred return to
classic horror.

You'll even find some references to Three on a Meathook, The Evil Dead and
Just Before Dawn. It's obvious that Wrong Turn is a horror movie made by
people who love horror movies. The characters we are introduced to are
nicely written to the point where we actually care about whether if they live or
not. This is due to the great performances by the four lead actors: Desmond
Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto. Each of
them have their cunning moments, but it's Eliza who steals the show with her
amazing ability to play such a stressful role as a woman who is forced to
overcome and beat the odds. Much like seeing Sigourney Weaver's character
in the Alien movies. The script was very well written. There's even a
"Deliverance" reference in the dialog which insures you on exactly what kind
of film you're watching. What's best about the script is that you wont find
silly or dull humor. The humor that is in the movie doesn't go very far. For
the most part it's a very serious film. Slasher nowadays tend to make jokes
and run with horrible clichés. This one doesn't, thank god.

You follow these likeable characters as they venture in the woods and
stumble across a house of horrors. The antagonists in the film are three
grotesque characters who are basically disfigured human beings. Cannibalistic
human beings at that. Even these ghastly characters are interesting, but we
don't get to see too much of them in the movie. Director Rob Schmidt
does a great job of building up pace and suspense by keeping the killers in
the dark most of the time. Sometimes we can see them through the
characters' point of view as they hide. Even in hiding they get to see their
other friends being chopped like Bar BQ meat. Special effects master Stan
Winston produced this project, so you would bet that the movie would have
some amazing FX. Sadly it's both good and bad. The close up and not so
close up shots of gore are incredible. The death scenes in Wrong Turn are
stunning and rewarding. Gore hounds will be pleased with the amount
violence that this film has to offer, and there's a lot of it. We hadn't seen a
movie this down and dirty in a long time.

The film is so violent that even the TV commercials had to cut down a lot. It's
not necessarily a "gore fest," but for a mainstream release, this is a pretty
fucked up movie. The chase scenes are really intense. The night time
sequences were my favorite. There's a chase scene involving a few of the
characters as they escape from a burning watch tower by jumping into the
trees. The group tries to survive by walking on the high branches, but the
mountain men are still hot on their tracks. These scenes are very intense and
had my heart pounding out of my chest in anticipation. There's another
scene that sticks out of my mind which involves a man who gets an arrow
through the face. It happens when you least expect it, and it shocked the hell
out of me. With that said, Wrong Turn is one hell of a thrill ride. My only
complaint aside from the played out story was the usage of CGI. Computer
generated effects can help out a movie.

I've seen it done properly in horror movies before, but the CGI in Wrong
Turn looks way too phoney. You'll enjoy the innovative and slick kill scenes,
but the CGI almost kills those fun moments. Wrong Turn is one of those
movies you either love or hate. The story and characters are not so original,
but then again it's not trying to be. Wrong Turn is an homage to films before
it. It's got the heart and soul of a traditional horror film. Wrong Turn has all
the ingredients for an effective slasher: a good setting, decent plot, a very
attractive and likable cast, memorable make-up and gore effects and a
refreshing tone that reminds us of the days when horror didn't rely on
self-conscious/cheap humor to pass for entertainment value. For old school
slasher geeks like myself you're guaranteed to feel some nostalgia with
Wrong Turn. It's basic, but fun to watch. The entertainment value alone is
worth it. It's vicious, brutal, and a whole lot of fun.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Overall: 7/10
Genres: Horror, Thriller

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2003

Runtime: 84 minutes

Studio: Twentieth
Century-Fox

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Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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