Wrong Turn was released in 2003 and despite mixed reviews performed fairly well at the box office. It is completely derivative copying the plot from films like The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a healthy dose of Deliverance thrown in. Despite the lack of originality it is an enjoyable horror flick with some well executed scares and a decent cast.
The film opens with two climbers scaling a rock face, as the girl is halfway up the guy gets thrown from the top and then she is pulled up by the rope. It's quite an effective opening which is followed by credits and an inbred-hillbilly-missing-people news story montage which tells you everything you need to know about the set-up.
Set in backwoods West Virginia, a city boy is late for a meeting and makes the classic mistake of taking a shortcut against the advice of the creepy toothless guy at the deserted gas station so you know he's in for trouble. A little way down the road he crashes into a group of teens on holiday. They're all effectively trapped and while one unfortunate couple stay with the vehicles the rest of them go hiking to find help. Cue a standard slasher structure as they are picked off by the hillbilly cannibal clan in a series of set-piece gory murders.
The clichés come thick and fast as the group find an abandoned shack surrounded by rusting cars which screams serial killing hillbilly family. Naturally they go inside looking for a phone. Eliza Dushku plays the lead girl, Jessie who is the only one of the bunch with any sense and it's obvious that she and city boy Desmond, played by Chris Flynn, are the only pair in the group with any chance of surviving the ordeal.
The hillbilly clan are ludicrously ugly and deformed and unfortunately for the teens they are also adept hunters and have super strength. The make-up and gore are well handled and director Rob Schmidt manages to wedge some tension and excitement into the predictable action. For the most part his direction is simple but effective and there were several jumpy moments amidst the slaughter.
While it's impossible to escape the feeling you've seen it all before, because you have, it is done well enough to make for an enjoyable throwaway blast of entertainment. Wrong Turn harks back to 70's and 80's survival slashers and it´s unapologetic gory fun all the way which most horror fans will appreciate.Short Review
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