Wrong Turn 2: Dead End
wrong turn | wrong turn 2: dead end | joe lynch | turi meyer | alfredo spetien | erica leerhsen | henry rollins | texas battle | slasher | sequel | united states | aleksa palladino | daniella alonso | steve braun | yan-kay crystal lowe | ken kirzinger | mutant | mutants
Film: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End
Director: Joe Lynch
Writer: Turi Meyer and Alfredo Septién
Starring: Erica Leerhsen, Henry Rollins and Texas Battle
The first time that I saw this movie was in college. It was my first apartment and I was excited when I saw they made a follow up as I thought the original was a solid little slasher film. I’ll be honest; I didn’t really care for this movie as it didn’t capture what I thought the original did. It was fun, but it didn’t live up. I have now given this a second watch as part of the Summer Challenge Series for the Podcast Under the Stairs for the 2000s as well as October Horror Movie Challenges. The synopsis here is a group of reality show contestants find themselves fighting for their survival against a family of hideously deformed inbred cannibals who plan to ruthlessly butcher them all.
We kick this off in a similar fashion to the original. There is Kimberly (Kimberly Caldwell) who is in a red Mustang, driving through the woods of West Virginia. She is scolding her agent, who I didn’t realize was voiced by Patton Oswalt for booking her in this gig. It is a reality TV show. She isn’t paying attention and hits someone in the road. When she gets out to check on them, they’re still alive and they cut her in half, vertically. Another one appears and they take the pieces of the woman with them.
The major premise of this movie is that M (Matthew Currie Holmes) is trying to make a reality survivor show in the middle of the woods. The premise is that the world has ended due to a nuclear holocaust. They are given challenges and there are other things they have to deal with to ‘survive’ in this game. It is hosted by Dale Murphy (Henry Rollins) who is a former military man. The contestants are Nina Pappas (Erica Leerhsen) who is a bit of a militant vegan and there’s Jake Washington (Texas Battle), former college football star. Amber (Daniella Alonso) who is former military. Jonesy Lewis (Steve Braun) was on the X-Games and from the sounds of it, failed pretty hard. Elena (Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe) who is the attractive girl. Kimberly was supposed to be the final, but she doesn’t show up and we know why. M’s girlfriend and producer of the show, Mara Stone (Aleksa Palladino), takes her spot. Dale gives her a pep talk, stating he sees strength in her to do this.
Their first challenge is to go off into the woods to look for food in pairs that are randomly selected. They notice there isn’t any wildlife and some don’t really seem to care either. M goes with Jake and Elena. We see that they have something else in mind that is a bit X-rated. He refuses and leaves where Elena will do what she can for the spotlight, even with M. Nina and Mara get to know each other where Mara sets off a special challenge that gets Nina’s attention for the lengths she goes. The other duo sees Jonesy making inappropriate jokes constantly, getting on Amber’s nerves the whole way. They also come across a camp where meet is on an open flame and meat on a spicket. Dale gets a run in with some of the people that are lurking in the woods and he fights back. The others are also hunted by them as well.
That’s where I want to leave my recap for this movie as that gets you up to speed with what it is about. I’m not sure what I would have rated this movie in college, but I know that it is really more positive now. It is even more interesting that I’ve been watching Survivor and this movie is not only poking fun at that show, but legit calling it out.
The premise works to get this random group of people out in the middle of nowhere for this as well. They can win $100,000 and that is reason enough to be there. It is funny that on Survivor, there are a lot of good looking people half naked, so it wouldn’t shock me to see M wanting Elena to go over and above like she is speaking how sex sells. They’re being the spin off type show so they really need to step up what they’re selling to the audience.
If I do have issues, I don’t like a lot of the characters. I’ll give credit though, they make them distinct enough. I’m not a fan of Nina, but I think Leerhsen is solid in her performance to get me to feel that way. I love Rollins’ take on Dale. He goes full Arnold when he’s hunting these mutants. Jake brings me around as there’s a bit of arrogance about him, but he is a good guy at heart. I really like Mara and feel bad for what she sees. Palladino plays her mousy and it works. Amber is good. Jonesy is annoying, but that’s how he’s written. Braun plays that well. M is shady and again, Holmes plays it that way too. Lowe is quite attractive so seeing her nude is good and Caldwell is easy on the eyes for the small time she is there.
I feel I should shift this over to the villains now. We get Pa who is portrayed by Ken Kirzinger. He brings imposing size and I like the make-up for him. He looks a bit too normal despite the horrible hair-lip they give him. They don’t really flesh out the others though. I got Ma (Ashlea Earl) and Sister (Rorelee Tio) mixed up a lot. I think the make-up for all of them is good overall, but they all feel very similar to me. We also get a cameo by Three Finger (Jeff Scrutton) which I like. What this tells me is that this is an off shoot of the same family from the first one, but they’re all part of the crew.
Before getting away from the story, which is some thing that I wanted to bring up here as well. This movie isn’t the same trio we saw, but they’re all related. This expands on the mythology as well that there were chemicals from the paper mill that is affecting these people. This explains to me why they’re super strong as it is inbreeding, but the genetics are altered by the chemicals. It is a bit too on the nose with a drum outside the mill though.
Next I’ll take this to the effects. This was a surprise to me as well. For the most part they went practical and they looked good when they did. There is some CGI in the movie that doesn’t hold up though. I’ve already said that I liked the make up that was done for the mutants, even though I think some of them could have a bit more done to make them look different. The cinematography is solid aside from that and I like incorporating a bit of found footage with the cameras attached for them with this reality show. That fit for me.
Now with that said, I’m glad that I gave this movie a rewatch. It isn’t as bad as I remember it and this does feel like a good place to take what they did with the original movie. This one goes a bit more comedic, which explains why some of the characters are over the top. They give more of the back-story which I like and the reality show is a legit reason to get this group lost out in the middle of the woods. The practical effects look good, even if those go a bit far at times, but they at least look fine. CGI doesn’t really hold up and the soundtrack was fine for what was needed. It really didn’t stand out to me. I’d say this as a fun slasher sequel to a more serious film. If that interests you, give it a viewing. My rating would be an above average film overall.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10