After three films set in the wilderness of West Virginia, the fourth Wrong Turn placed itself inside an abandoned mental hospital. The fifth entry relocates again; this time to a small town (I’m not quite clear, but it seems that this small town is not the setting of the mentioned-but-never-shown festival, but is adjacent to it (whether the festival is in another town, or in the woods, I’m not sure; though the deputies of the small town are tasked with guarding it, so it must be in their jurisdiction)). As with all the last Wrong Turn film, the focus is on a group of young friends who like taking their clothes off (previous films have used reality show contestants and escaped prisoners). They’ve come for the festival, but are too cheap to get a hotel room, and camp out in the woods instead (though in a nice twist, they don’t actually encounter the hillbillies until they get to town).
Thee characterization is about what you’d expect, typical horror movie teens whose sexual antics and drug use implicitly justify the bad things that happen to them. The acting is fairly good though; at least in the sense that they can scream and panic convincingly. The one exception to this is a bizarre throwaway scene in which a girl offers to have sex with one of the deputies if he’ll let her backstage. The acting and dialog of this scene are straight out of a cliched porn movie. I actually expected the camera to pan back at some point and reveal that it was, in fact, a video that someone was watching. But no, the director was apparently fine with the hideous performance (as long as it got another naked lady into the movie).
I may be misremembering the last few movies, but I think the makeup effects took a pretty big hit with Wrong Turn 5. The faces of the hillbillies look very static and artificial, and some of the gore looks amateur-Halloween-makeup-bad. Given how big a role the gore plays in movie, it’s a problem that really stands out and keeps pulling you out of the story.
The new setting doesn’t really help in that regard either. Crazy mountain hillbillies make a sort of sense in the context of backwoods West Virginia; but in a small town, they’re just guys in weird costumes. Anything that makes a monster less real, or less believable, is going to make it less effective. The kills, likewise, get a lot more elaborate (and sillier) than they’ve previously been. It’s almost like the hillbillies are turning into clowns; laughing manically whilst assembling unlikely machines of death.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is a fine, but undistinguished, as a slasher. It isn’t as good as its predecessors in the franchise. The lower budget and softening of the villains take a bite out of the realism; but the acting is okay, and the kills are plentiful.