Plot: What’s it about?
Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is en route to a meeting that could change his life, the kind of meeting that you can’t be late for. But when a chemical truck overturns on the road, he is stuck in traffic and has no hope of moving forward. His cel phone can’t pull in a signal either, so he cannot call in to to let the people know he is behind schedule. So he can choose to wait out the accident, or turn around and try to locate a phone, perhaps even an alternate route. He goes with the latter option, returning to a gas station a ways back down the main road. He is unable to use the phone there, since it has no dial tone, but a map at the station reveals another road, one which reconnects with the main road a few miles after the accident. The attendant seems hesitant to recommend the dirt road as safe, but Chris has his mind on his appointment. So he takes the dirt road and after a few turns, he slams into a vehicle parked in the middle of the road. The people from that vehicle were out to enjoy the outdoors, but someone put a string of barbed wire in the road, which slashes their tires and ended their venture. Chris and his new friends set out to find some help, but they are unaware that outside eyes are watching the crash site. When the locals come down from the mountains, will the young visitors stand a chance to survive?
As a fan of the horror classic The Hills Have Eyes, I knew what to expect from Wrong Turn, since it looked to take numerous cues from that picture. So I didn’t expect an innovative experience, just a fun ride and of course, some cool moments with vicious, pissed off inbred rednecks. And that is what Wrong Turn supplies and while it never goes much beyond a solid level of entertainment, that is enough here. Of course, I would love to see an all out bloodbath with intense levels of suspense, but given the rash of bloodless, scareless productions, I was almost thrilled to see one that was at least decent. No new ground is broken, the storyline is rehashed, and the performances are basic, but it all comes together to make a more than solid little picture. The premise stays as simple as you can imagine, which means not many real shocks can be found, but things don’t get convoluted either, which is good news. The stage is set soon after the opening credits and from there, its just a race to see who, if anyone, can survive. Its been a while since we’ve seen cannibal hillbillies in a movie, which is a real shame. But thanks to Stan Winston’s special makeup effects, the ones in Wrong Turn look great. I can’t tell you that Wrong Turn is a genre classic or even a great movie, but it is better than most of the tripe that passes as horror these days. So if you’re looking for a fun rental release, Wrong Turn is well recommended.
The cast in this film is the usual young, hip assortment of young adults, which yields the usual results, less than impressive performances. But at least they look good, which was probably the sole reason for the casting choices involved. If I had to pick out one worker, I would lean toward Eliza Dushku, but not because of her performance, instead for a missed chance for the filmmakers to make this a better movie. This kind of movie screams for an empowered female to step up and kick some ass, but Dushku comes off as weak and submissive. Yes, she has a couple of moments where she shines, but she is reliant on her male costars. I know this is the fault of the filmmakers, not Dushku, but she could have injected a little more power into the role. If she had been given the strong female role, instead of the bland female role, Wrong Turn could have explored some new areas, but instead, it is business as usual. I can’t knock Dushku too much for her work here, as the real blame should be placed on the filmmakers. Other films with Dushku include Bring It On, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Soul Survivors, The New Guy, and City by the Sea. The cast also includes Emmanuelle Chriqui (Snow Day, Ricky 6), Desmond Harrington (The Hole, Ghost Ship), and Lindy Booth (Teenage Space Vampires, American Psycho 2).
Video: How does it look?
Wrong Turn is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a disappointment, a soft and unrefined image that fails to deliver that high definition spark. If the film had used a soft, gritty visual design, then I would understand, but it doesn’t and it just looks bad here. The depth is pitiful and rarely rises above DVD levels, which is inexcusable. The colors and contrast work well, but never grab your attention. This transfer is a let down in all aspects.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio outshines the video here, as this DTS HD 5.1 option is quite impressive. The surrounds are active throughout, adding in atmosphere and of course, cheap scares. So when the woods come alive in Wrong Turn, this track ensures that the mood is eerie and effective. The music sounds great too, while dialogue is spot on and never wavers. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary is up first, as director Rob Schmidt and stars Eliza Dushku & Desmond Harrington lend their thoughts. This is a good session, as it provides a nice blend of anecdotes, comical comments, and genuine insight into the production. A lot of worthwhile knowledge is passed on in this track, so if you’re a fan of horror movies, be sure not to miss this one. This disc also includes four brief behind the scenes featurettes, three deleted scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.