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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Rob Schmidt

Desmond Harrington
Eliza Dushku
Emmanuelle Chriqui
Jeremy Sisto

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What's it about

Driving through the mountains of West Virginia, Chris Finn is on his way to a job interview. After taking a detour down a dirt road, he accidentally crashes into a car sitting in the middle of the road. The car belongs to a group of five friends, who intended to camp in the forest but became stranded. Two of the friends stay in the care, while Chris and the others try to find some help. Help comes in the form of three psycho, inbred mountain men looking for some fun.

Is it good movie?

Call it DELIVERANCE meets TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (yeah, everyone's used that line). I never got the chance to see WRONG TURN when it hit theatres all the way back in 2003 (damn, now I feel old), so this was actually my first crack at it. The verdict? After playing the 'guess the fodder' game at the start, the film turned into a fun time of watching a 70s style survival tale about ignorant city folk playing in the backyard of ugly cannibal mofos, who were in need more than a haircut to improve their looks.

I have to tip my hat right away to the late, great Stan Winston and his team for coming through on creating the three inbred psychos (as well as Winston producing this film). I've always been a fan of Winston's effects, and these suckers are one of the many reasons why. Adding to that greatness is Rob Schmidt's objective to making a film designed to give folks jolts of adrenaline when they watch it. Mission accomplished! I howled out loud numerous times I was hit with something out of left field, and enjoyed it every time.

Character-wise, it was easy to figure out who was going to live and who was going to become lunch right once all the players were introduced. Still, part of the fun was the wait and the anticipation of a character's demise. That's also not to say that they weren't all cardboard cutouts. Desmond Harrington was a winner for me. The guy played the smart, cool hero guy perfectly. As for the fairer sex, Eliza Dusku wasn't given as much to work with, but at least she stayed away from the 'damsel in distress' type.

On the downside, the film stuck with the slasher archetype a little too well. Characters said and did dumb things and were punished for them in the end, which is a given but once in a while it'd be nice to have a character bend the rules a bit. Also, the ending was a bit on the cheesy side, even with the cliffhanger. But hey, if you've come this far by going the slasher route, why not go all the way?

WRONG TURN doesn't reinvent the genre, but it doesn't need to. The film rests on the tension it generates and its flashbang kills, which is all you could really ask for with a film such as this. On the other hand, sticking to the slasher mold a little too well might not be for everyone, but at the very least you'll have fun waiting for the inevitable.

Video / Audio

Video: Wow. All I can say is that Fox wins my award for half-assed attempt at HD. This 1.85:1 1080p widescreen transfer is a joke. I seriously think Fox just upscaled the SD transfer in hopes that no one would notice. Uh, no. The whole picture is soft and dull. Hardly any detail is revealed with this transfer, and DNR is the name of the game. You wouldn't know Chris had a pinstriped shirt on if you didn't zoom in, because it looks like he's wearing a solid baby blue shirt. Thanks a lot, Fox.

Audio: At least the audio department got a proper upgrade. The film gets a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which carries the great ambiance of the Hamilton, Ontario West Virginian forest. There's some great front to back movement in here, as well. Dialogue is crisp and clear. Other options include French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks.

The Extras

Leave it to Fox to do nothing new in terms of extras.

First up is commentary by director Rob Schmidt and actors Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington. Rather than being an information-filled track, this is more of an entertainment track. The participants laugh and offer some tidbits about production (mostly from Schmidt), but it's also a bit sparse in spots as the group watches the film. It's good for background noise, really.

Fresh Meat: The Wounds Of Wrong Turn is your basic behind-the-scenes featurette that doesn't burrow much deeper than a typical EPK. Stan Winston and Rob Schmidt are the main contributors here, with Schmidt reiterating his idea of a 70s horror throwback, and Winston talking about his team creating the mountain men. Other than showing the behind the scenes work on some shots and some makeup effects, there's not much else to this one.

Making Of Wrong Turn is even more of a joke. Running at less than five minutes, this is as basic as you can get. Spliced-together shots from the film, a quick overview of the plot and that's really all there is to it.

Stan Winston: Monster Mogul centers on Stan Winston and his brief overview of his career in effects work, and his opinions on making a genre flick. Another five minute piece, but at least you get Stan's love of horror and sci-fi.

Eliza Dushku: Babe In The Woods focuses on (who else?) the leading lady, and has Schmidt and Winston falling over themselves in praise of Eliza. Not particularly insightful, especially once you listen to Eliza on the film's commentary.

Deleted Scenes has about seven minutes of timecoded and letterboxed scenes. Highlights include explanation by Eliza for the group going camping, a slightly different version of an early kill, and multiple takes of the cool barbed-wire garroting.

Rounding things up is the film's theatrical trailer. I should point out that all of the extras are in standard definition, and basically carried over from the DVD that was released years ago. Since then, the film's had two sequels and Winston's passing. No tribute to Winston is included, nor is there any retrospective doc on the films. Once again, thanks so much, Fox.

Last Call

Cannibalistic hillbillies never go out of style, and WRONG TURN is proof of that. Providing some slick tension and great makeup, this is one that you'll throw in for those times where you don't feel like thinking but you want to enjoy yourself with. As for the Blu-Ray, Fox shows once again who they love, and it's not this film. A lazy HD transfer with no new extras to speak of results in you keeping your original DVD set if you own it already.

star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT

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