Wrong Turn (2003)
|It's the Last One You'll Ever Make
Growing up, my brother and I took long family road trips
to see my grandmother at least once or twice a year. In
doing that, we had to cut through West Virginia and travel
through those windy mountain roads. Now that I've seen Wrong
Turn, I think that future trips through West Virginia
will be quick and it's a sure bet that we won't take any
Jessie (Eliza Dushku) had a bad week and was dumped by
her boyfriend (he's obviously not right in the head).
So to make her forget about things and lift her spirits,
her four friends have blown off a week of work to take
her camping in the great outdoors of rural West Virginia.
It doesn't take long before the group of would-be campers
runs into Chris (Desmond Harrington), or rather, he runs
into them. Both parties have made a terrible wrong turn
and it doesn't take long before they'd all be wishing
they had just stayed home. Be witness to the fun as they
battle for their lives against inbred "mountain men"
that were supposed to be just a legend.
There's no better remedy for a broken heart than to spend
a week camping with two happy couples and being a fifth
wheel. That, my friend, is sarcasm. But Jessie's not worried
about being reminded of what she had, she's going to be
makin' love to nature for a week. Man, what I would give
to be nature for that week. Did I just say that out loud?
Anyways, I digress. I really wanted to see this movie
in the theaters, but I never got around to it and boy
did I miss out. Good horror is better on the big screen,
and this one fits that bill. It's full of some genuine
scares and managed to get my adrenaline pumping even on
the small screen. I can only imagine what it was like
in the theaters.
Wrong Turn is throwback horror. Director Rob Schmidt
aimed for the old school horror of the 70s and succeeds
in bringing back some of that The Hills Have Eyes
raw type of horror magic. I hadn't heard of Schmidt before
this film, but he did a bang-up job directing. He knows
how to build tension and then give the audience a release
without resorting to goofy one-liners or some awkwardly
humorous interlude. While I enjoy humor, I think that horror's
been trying to be a little too funny recently. It's great
to see a well-done "serious" effort. It also helps
that Schmidt doesn't try to be too clever or too fancy.
It’s a rather simple concept but the execution was
so good, it works.
It helps the director when you have good acting. This may
be one of the few films with a "young cast" ensemble
where I liked every character and each elicited at least
a shred of sympathy. I wanted everyone to live. I was even
hoping that Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), the "annoying
girl" (also known as "the dead weight"),
would survive. Kudos should go out to the casting job. There's
good onscreen chemistry among the couples and the performances
were all believable. Their fear seemed very real and that's
passed on to the audience. None of the ladies lose their
clothes however, which for many was a real bummer. I say,
if you're expecting tits and ass in every horror movie,
then you're dooming the genre to forever keep its "bastard
child" of cinema status. Skin will always have its
place in horror, but once in awhile just give it a rest
and find somewhere else to get your jollies.
While I'm slingin' the praise, don't let me forget about
the cinematography. The mountain landscape played a big
part in the film and there's a ton of nice shots of all
the lonely surroundings. You can tell that it's a long way
to civilization, as it really gives off the "middle
of nowhere" feeling that the characters must have been
feeling. It's all very impressive, especially if you consider
that it was shot not in the Appalachian Mountains, but in
a park in Toronto.
Stan Winston's inbred freaks are also impressive, though
I'd expect nothing less from the guy. He's built quite a
reputation for amazing creatures and FX, and the bar is
already at such a high level for Stan and his studio. These
hillbilly cannibals are just another nice addition to his
huge body of awesome work. Wrong Turn stretches the
boundaries of its R rating, which appears to be a growing
trend. The hard R rating is back and I, for one, am not
complaining. The gore is appropriate and not overdone and
every death scene is graphic, disturbing, and sometimes
shocking. In other words, I loved them all!
Wrong Turn's a movie that I think will have a long
lifespan and one that people will look back on fondly in
the coming years. It was no blockbuster at the theaters
and many overlooked it, but I believe that it will gain
new life on DVD and create a bunch of new "inbred cannibal"
The disc itself is two-sided, ugh. I hate two-sided discs,
but at least the DVD's not in on of those dreaded snap cases,
so I'll live. It's got both the full screen (1.33:1) and
widescreen 2.35:1 Widescreen (Anamorphic) editions of the
film and splits the special features between the two sides.
As for the audio, you get Dolby Digital 5.1 (English) sound.
First up on the special features is a commentary with the
director, Rob Schmidt, and the leads, Eliza Dushku and Desmond
Harrington. Overall, a solid commentary. They all seemed
to have a lot of fun making the movie and they gave a lot
of good behind-the-scenes happenings. There were a few times
when I felt there was a little too much dead space, like
they would get enthralled with the movie and have to pull
themselves away and talk some more. Nothing too groundbreaking,
but if you liked the movie, then you should dig the commentary.
There are just a couple of deleted scenes, none of them
very especially noteworthy. There's an extended waterfall
scene that provides a little more story leading up to Eliza's
character going camping. Also, there's a little more romance
between Eliza and Desmond. They included the dailies of
Francine's death scene. It's a good reminder of how much
work is actually involved in doing even a short scene like
The longest and best of four featurettes on the disc is
"Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn". Here they show us
how the special effects were created and make sure to notate
each character's demise. I always love to see how special
effects are done, and it always amazes me how simple some
of the tricks are that end up making the gruesome and realistic
imagery you see on screen. Then there's "The Making of Wrong
Turn". You'd think this was the most detailed of the group,
but it's not. It's pretty short and is made up mostly of
clips from the film with blurbs from Stan Winston and the
cast talking a about the film. There's nothing here that
you didn't know from watching the movie or the other featurettes.
Then there's another short featurette called "Eliza Dushku:
Babe in the Woods." It's cool, but only because it's about
the yummy Eliza Dushku. Otherwise, it's short and provides
little insight. Finally, there's the "Stan Winston Featurette".
It's the second best of the four, but still way too short.
It delves deeper into Stan Winston's legendary career and
his work on some of the coolest movies ever made. Rock on,
Stan! You da man!
Rounding out the special features is the trailer and the
concept posters. The posters are cool because you get to
see what could have been...which would have been cooler.
For me, two of the three original designs were much better
than the one they finally used. Though, everything has to
go through the MPAA and some things don't ever see the light
(Out of 5)
(Out of 5)
|May 30 2003
|October 14 2003
|October 14 2003
|DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
|One of the more underrated horror films of 2003.
Easily worth adding to your collection!
|1. Always keep an up-to-date map handy when traveling.
2. Don't trespass into the homes of rural West Virginians.
3. When quietly trying to hide from redneck inbreds, be sure to turn off the radio.
|-"Maybe we shouldn't have left Francine and Evan."
-"Don't worry, they're
-"Whoa, wait guys. This road isn't on here."
-"That's because we don't
have the redneck world atlas."
-"We are never going into the woods again!"
|Rob Schmidt (Crime & Punishment
|Alan B. McElroy (Spawn, Halloween 4)
|Stan Winston (She Creature)
|Robert Kulzer (Resident Evil)
|Brian J. Gilbert
|Summit Entertainment, Constantin
Winston Productions, New Regency Productions
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
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