I saw WRONG TURN theatrically back in 2003 and can't remember being particularly impressed by it at all, but when I bumped into the WRONG TURN 3 PACK in an actual brick and mortar for 13 dollars I couldn't resist. Crazed mutant hillbillies vs. Teens? TRIPLE PACK??
I'm really glad I did take the challenge, because I'm enjoying the series so far! What is mind boggling is that all three films have managed to have really pretty lead actresses wear white and tight tank tops! Talk about visual consistency!
Wrong Turn doesn't get a lot of points for creativity in it's set up, but the execution(s) and set pieces are really well done. In the age of DTV sequels and SYFY productions, it boasts some solid cinematography and Stan Winston has a producer credit to boot, so the inbred psycho clan looks as warped as one would expect.
Chris is on the way to an important job interview so he takes a shortcut (woops) through the middle of nowhere, West Virginia. When you drive through nothing it is always the few seconds that you take your eyes off the road to disaster. And disaster he gets by crushing into a group of mostly annoying campers. That group includes the white tank top rocking Eliza Dushku as Jessie, part time hot camper, part time fearless tree scaling survivalist with unknown bow skills. Jeremy Sisto also pops up, and thankfully gets killed fairly quickly after basically reprising an even more annoying version of his quirky performances. I'm sure he is an amazing actor, but he screams "CHOP ME INTO PIECES" right out of the gate in a hillbilly rampage fest like this. Before we go further though, there is one other forgotten bit... LINDY BOOTH. She has been in several horror flicks and TV shows, but I call her one half of the lead cast of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE HOTNESS from the show Relic Hunter.
Sadly, she isn't the star, but boy does she give it her all...just watch the outtakes on the DVD!
OK, so--a crazed family is picking everyone off to cook 'em up, stir 'em up and serve 'em up...you get the drill.
What makes the movie work is the clan is pretty resourceful and there are several really cool sequences with traps and gory body smashing that really come together in a completely improbable sequence that involves mutants and sexy wifebeater shirts colliding as a guy that was shot in the leg runs along tree branches like a hillbilly horrorist himself.
It doesn't matter, I'm not here for logic, that scene is completely thrilling and reminds me of something that would come out of a great horror comic because while it really couldn't happen, in the universe where gravity and body mass don't matter, it does and it does so with style.
Alan McElroy is the writer of Wrong Turn and his comic book experience and skill shows. He is most closely associated with SPAWN in both the movie and animated versions as well as being the writer that brought Micheal Myers back in Halloween 4. Hey, I loved his work on CURSE OF THE SPAWN with Danny Miki, so it was nice to see his name AND he gets credit on all the sequels as the character creator for the mutants.
Those mutants work really well, though they don't speak there is a fun interplay between them and Three Fingers sure does seem to have some staying power.
Fast paced fun that doesn't take itself more seriously than it needs to, this is a really fun horror action bit of business that was a great start to Halloween Horrors.
But the sequels...can they survive? MORE inbreeding in horror series creates odd mutations...
Wrong Turn 2: DEAD END starts off showing how cheap DTV films circa 2007 could look when watched directly after the original, but it also shows off the creative freedom that brings me to the "sequel ghetto" over and over. Director Joe Lynch and his screenwriters switch things up and manage to cram in nudity, gore (and gore and gore) with gusto as the besieged characters in the woods are there for a different reason. Henry Rollins stars as the host / creator of a post apocalyptic game show (I wish they had followed up on the PostNuke stuff a little more) and he isn't about to take any crap from Three Fingers and company.
Dead End is actually quite a bit more fun than the original film and seems to have no real intention of being a "scary" horror film, instead it lifts big chunks of Texas Chainsaw Massacre meat and drops it into a brainpan stew of sequences that recall that classic with family dinner frolics and lengthy chase scenes.
The gore is really plentiful, especially once we get to the big finish and Rollins has his Spartan Warrior vs. Killbilly showdown. I was really digging it at this point. Some other points go to random bits like the camera man in the Battle Royale T-Shirt as he works on a show where the contestants are all getting knocked off, a great score by Bear McCreary, some very attractive ladies, Henry Rollins being Henry Rollins while playing a backwoods military maniac, one kick ass bit with three fingers flying over the top of convertible roof after getting hit by a car and even, *GASP*, characters that I wanted to see be the final survivors!
Overall, this is the film that sells me on the series. I enjoyed HILLSIDE CANNIBALS for the love of Leatherface, so give me well done cheap Backwoods horrors anytime. And hey, there are 3 more of these! I'm on the hunt for more action...
They just don't stop breeding, but this time we have even more fun in store in my opinion. Getting me to go into a part 3 without hesitating is impossible, but it didn't take long before I was digging the vibe of this mostly action oriented entry. When you watch the opening sequence you, like myself, may be saying "WOW, this is the douchiest cast ever, though those are some very nice boobs engaging in some illicit smoking activity...and BAM...big death scene ahoy!" The movie throws a twist in the road and skips the dead end of another campers in the woods scenario, though hey, now that we had some variety I'd be cool with the return of the basic model. This time we follow along with some high profile prisoners being re-routed from a potential jail break by changing their route to a quick trip through the veritable big bad Bronson Canyon of West Virginia. It's like an episode of Oz with killer mutants as a skinhead and a Mexican gang leader (with a woops, it keeps slipping British accent) try to escape the law by working together. They didn't count on the killer tow truck being the one to hit their bus with a jail breaking bout of barbed wire roadside assistance. Now sprinkle in a plot of one hot camper teaming up with a couple of jail guards as the baddies find a truck full of money to carry out of the woods.
Thing is, money is heavy and it makes you slow. Slow ROASTED of course!
Wrong Turn 3 seems like a step back in some departments as the effects are much more CGI than before and technology is definitely NOT your friend on a micro budget. Sure there are some amazing ideas that probably looked good on paper, but when your tri-section trap looks worse than an effect in the average Wii game it may have been better to pass and break out the cherry syrup and latex. It's a little distracting, but luckily the pace and script make up for that.
I enjoyed this film in the same manner I did Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (which I love more than most people), this isn't concerned with being scary, but instead it is an action flick with terror trappings springing up left and right. Some of it is inventive, other bits are cliche but in the way I'd like them to be (drenched in bloody gore)--but overall it's a meaty slab of entertainment that even features a boxing match with big meat hooks.
I love that kind of stuff.
Also, you have 3 Fingers all set up with a new motivation as his numbers are dwindling and the cons decide to punish him for attacking them by killing his son. Bad move...bad bad move. I also think our lead mutato has more lives this time-a hook through the brain isn't enough to finish him off?
And then...there is THE SCENE. I'm convinced I can love something for a good minute even if it surrounded by complete dull garbage. Wrong Turn 3 isn't dull, but it features an INSANE moment where 3 Fingers reappears after his 9th death and pulls off a move like a bag being hooked onto a train that made me jump back into my seat. First in surprise, but then in complete disbelief. Not a bad disbelief, a completely amused, man I like DTV sequels because they are built to be ballsy if the studio lets them be kind of disbelief.
It isn't a good effect, but they tried...and it worked for me. Definitely not a low point in the series (which has a number 5 being released this month by the way)--This one pays off enough that the 3 pack purchase is totally worth it.
And again, the script made me interested in who and how our survivors would get away enough that the post credits sequence was baffling, but served it's purpose to keep things rolling--there is always room for more meat in the pot down at 3 Fingers cafe.
Onward to more Halloween Horrors, and I'll be back in the woods with the Mutato clan again soon!