review by Bobby Blakey
In 2003 the crazed slasher style flick Wrong Turn was unleashed in theaters and went on to spawn two sequels, two prequels and a standalone entry. Now original writer Alan B. McElroy has returned to the franchise and is teaming up with director Mike P. Nelson for a reimaging of the original aptly titled Wrong Turn. The film stars Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Daisy Head, Tim DeZarn and Matthew Modine. Could this latest entry due the franchise justice or will it be a turn not worth taking?
Wrong Turn follows Jen and a group of friends who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course—and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return— unless Jen’s father can reach them in time.
I really enjoyed the original film and found the fun in all the others in some form or another especially with Wrong Turn 2 from director Joe Lynch. Like most I am always hesitant with these remakes, but the trailer looked interesting and with original writer Alan B. McElroy on board I was excited to see what they did with it. This new take on the series is connected in pretty much name alone as all the backwoods cannibals are gone and in its place is a more cult approach to the whole thing. This adds a new interesting aspect to the story that is both hit and miss.
The first act is kind of slow, but offers up all the usual tropes as we are introduced to the characters. They have brought together a diverse group that helps to make it feel inclusive without trying to force the idea down your throat. Despite this the film still follows the usual rules of horror and when they start setting off the traps in the forest things kick into high gear. While they are never quite as gory kills early on as I would have hoped they are still enough to keep it fun to watch.
It’s the second half of the film that will no doubt lose some. I found it interesting dealing with more of a society instead of just crazed cannibals but it also takes some of the horror out of it. There is more of a hierarchy and rule system that brings the cult to the front of it and fundamentally changes the film all together from other entries in the series. IT also offers an evolution to the characters that is unexpected because of it and makes it feel fresh and new yet still familiar. It’s interesting to see that the original writer has so completely changed his idea this way.
At the same time these changes don’t work as well for me as whole. I am sure this was due to my expectations of the franchise, but also because it just wasn’t scary or even creepy like I had hoped. There is plenty of blood and the final act steps things up once again to bring it full circle to something fresh, fun and new, but not sure it was enough to fully save the film for some. There was a nice twist I dug with the end and they have no doubt tried to set up a new direction for the series should this one do well. Be sure to watch through the credits for a great final sequence that caps the fun of it all and where it could be heading.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted & extended scenes, commentary, trailer and featurette taking you behind bringing the horror to life. Grab your copy of Wrong Turn available now on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.