Wrong Turn strips the ‘cannibal hillbilly redneck’ genre down to its barest essentials; and then executes them quite successfully.
The most simplified plot description of films such as Wrong Turn, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills have Eyes is: A group of people get lost on the outskirts of civilization, run afoul of a deranged family, and are killed one-by-one. From there, each film adds on various details and conditions to differentiate it from its brethren in the genre, but not Wrong Turn.
It’s amazing how little Wrong Turn works to defines itself from the cliches of this type of horror film; it’s almost as if it’s some kind of meta-fictional parody, though I kind of doubt it. We start with a group of 20-somethings who have a car accident with another 20-something while on their way… somewhere. They head into the forest to find help (obviously) and immediately encounter a cabin. They barge in and soon find that the cabin is home to inbred, flesh-eating mountain men.
This film takes place in the south, of course. Given that area’s recent love affair with ‘stand your ground’ laws, which entitle people to use deadly force when they ‘feel’ threatened, regardless of whether they actually are or not, I can’t help but think that the 20-somethings, from a legal perspective, got exactly what was coming to them.
A movie doesn’t have to be original to be entertaining, and Wrong Turn is a great example of that. Though we know the story going into it, it’s well plotted with a snappy pace. The lack of set-up and character development just means there’s more time for the chase, which is very tense with a lot of surprises and nice twists along the way.
The film has a solid cast, headlined by Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse), who’s more than capable of pulling off the action scenes. Desmond Harrington (Dexter) plays the male lead, the ‘average-man hero;’ and Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order, Suburgatory) is the ‘nice guy that you know is going to die.’
The Blu Ray lacks that extra bit of sharpness you’d want out of modern HD transfer. Colors are a little on the dull side. It’s not as nice as I’d like it to be, but its more than watchable.