A small production crew heads into the deep forests of West Virginia to film a new reality series, Apocalypse: Ultimate Survivor. But the reality show soon turns real when some mutant cannibals come looking for food.
The reality show conceit solves one of the problems with the original Wrong Turn, that is, the lack of character development. The film opens with a video montage in which the cast introduces themselves and names the one or two character traits that define them. Mind you, the characters are not terribly interesting or complex, but the mini-arcs each of them go through gives the audience something to watch between killings.
There was also a concerted effort to expand on the hillbillies. We meet the extended family, consisting of parents and two kids, all of whom seem to be sleeping together, cause that’s what West Virginian hillbillies do. We see more of their home life, which includes the classic ‘girl victim tied to a chair and forced to attend the family dinner’ scene which has been standard in this type of film since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and for the first time we hear them speak in understandable English. There’s even an awkwardly tacked-on scene in which one of the protagonists (played by Henry Rollins) learns of the mutants’ origin. It’s never a good thing when a horror movie tries to explain its villains; humanizing a monster never makes it scarier. But in this case, the development is kept to a minimum. We’re never made to sympathize with the mutants; and what we learn about them only serves to further separate them from us.
The film proceeds as all these films do, with a series of gruesome and gory murders. It’s not as manic and fast paced as the original; as the cast is spread out across the forest and doesn’t know anything is happening until they have a run-in with a mutant for themselves. Speaking of which, the production people behind the show-in-the-movie have to be pretty lax in their jobs if they don’t notice ANYTHIING going on until it is too late. The show is supposed to be their big break; you’d think they would stick around for at least a couple hours to make sure everything’s working alright before they run off to try an sleep with one of the contestants.
Wrong Turn 2 isn’t as intense as the original, but there are somethings it does better; the character mix is more interesting, as is the initial set-up. The second film is also gorier, though it sometimes takes it to a ridiculous, cartoonish level.
The film looks better on Blu Ray than its predecessor did. It was probably shot digitally, as it was a direct-to-video production; so it’s sharp and the colors are vivid.