wrong turn | thriller | slasher | rob schmidt | alan b. mcelroy | eliza dushku | jeremy sisto | emmanuelle chriqui | germany | canada | mutant | mutants | desmond harrington | kevin zegers | lindy booth | julian richings | garry robbins | ted clark | united states
Film: Wrong Turn
Director: Rob Schmidt
Writer: Alan B. McElroy
Starring: Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto and Emmanuelle Chriqui
This is a movie that I have a lot of time for. The first time I saw it was due to my sister getting the DVD. We both liked Eliza Dushku from Bring It On. We also knew Jeremy Sisto from Clueless and Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth from the Dawn of the Dead remake. This was an interesting one on top of the cast for the fact that we have family from West Virginia, where this is supposed to take place and we like horror films. I did give this a watch with a critical eye thanks to the Podcast Under the Stairs for its Summer Challenge Series of the 2000s, giving me a reason to give this a rewatch. To get into this movie, the synopsis is Chris (Desmond Harrington) and a group of five friends are left stranded deep in the middle of the woods after their cars collide. As they venture deeper into the woods, they face an uncertain and bloodcurdling fate.
We start this movie off with a young, college couple as they rock climbing. The guy is Rich (Joel Harris) and his girlfriend Halley (Yvonne Gaudry). He is a bit of a jerk and gets to the top first. Something happens to him though. She thinks he’s playing a joke or messing with her, but when she calls out we see something has killed him. She has to cut herself free and she falls. There’s something in the woods after her.
From this point, I do like that we get newspaper headlines about there possible being ‘Mountain Men’ in the area. The legend goes that they are super strong, inbred and that this might come with mental disabilities that cause madness. They are also hunting the areas around where this couple disappeared. This of course is something I don’t believe, but is it out of the realm of possibility in real life? No, especially with the madness and entitlement that comes with living off of the land like these mountain people do.
The movie then shifts us over to Chris Flynn in his car. We get the idea that he’s in a hurry. The problem is that there’s an accident on the highway. He checks with a truck driver, James Downing, just ahead of him. He relays there was a jack-knife accident that caused a chemical spill. Chris gets back in his car and tries to find another way. We learn he needs to get to Raleigh for a job interview. He finds another road and it leads him to a gas station ran by an old man, Wayne Robson. Chris asks about other possible routes and the old man isn’t helpful. There is a map that Chris uses and he believes he’s found one. He decides to take it.
He seems to be making good time, but when he isn’t paying attention, he crashes into another vehicle. Thankfully, no one was in the other at the time. The other vehicle belongs to Francine’s (Booth) mother though. With her is her boyfriend of Evan (Zegers). There is also Scott (Sisto), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Jessie Burlingame (Dushku). As I said, no one is hurt, but they’re stranded now. It appears that the other vehicle is stuck after it ran over barbed wire. They at first think someone just left it, but Jessie believes this was a trap. Chris, Jessie, Carly and Scott set off to find help or a phone.
Things take a dark turn though as they head out. Evan and Francine are attacked by something in the woods. The other crew finds a cabin in the woods. They aren’t the first ones to fall victims to these traps as it becomes a fight for a survival as they try to get back to civilization while these inbred hill people do what they do best, hunt.
Now I’ll be honest, I know this isn’t the best movie, but I have a lot of fun with it. It really isn’t a movie that does anything we haven’t seen before in other slasher films. We have our crew that get stranded in the middle of the woods which isn’t the first time we seen this. I mean Jason Voorhees, although not inbred, is a boy that is mentally handicapped. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this crew is handicapped, but as the headlines stated, they’re superhuman. I do think it is funny the names given to them of Three Finger (Julian Richings), Saw-Tooth (Garry Robbins) and One-Eye (Ted Clark).
Something that really works for me for this slasher film is that I like the characters. We learn that the group of friends is true in caring for Jessie. Her boyfriend broke up with her so she’s sad. Carly rounded up all of their friends to help her get her mind off of it. Francine doesn’t even really seem to want to be there, the same could be said for Evan, but like I said, they took her mother’s vehicle to come out here. I also don’t think it is because they don’t care for Jessie, camping just isn’t their idea of fun. The one that is a bit weak though is Chris. My issue with him is that Harrington is just a bland actor and doesn’t add much. I do like the setting though. Being lost in the woods can be scary and having this group hunting them adds to that. They seem to know their surroundings so much better, like the quickest way to get to a certain location and they also have booby traps set up, plus with their physical attributes, it makes it even scarier.
Since I leaned into this a bit, I will shift this over to the acting. Dushku is really good. She really likes to go camping from what we learn so I enjoy that we’re establishing that part of her character. Chriqui is more of a city girl, but will do whatever she can to cheer up her friend. She does get whiney, but I think we need that. Sisto is a bit of a hippy, Zegers is a douche and Booth is freaky. I just like that even though we don’t get a lot of screen time with some of these characters, I know this much about them. It invests enough from me to and I like that for my slashers. Plus, all of the women are nice to look at, so there’s an added bonus. The villains are also good. The make-up they have is solid and I was glad to see Stan Winston’s name in the credits. Before going too deep there, Richings is one of my favorite character actors from this era for sure.
Since I brought up Winston, I really like what they do with most of the effects. I’ve already said that the look of the hillbillies is good. From everything I could tell, they went practical there. We get some dead bodies that look realistic. The blood does as well. If there is an issue I have is when they get to a watchtower. When they’re climbing up, they use green-screen and it was pretty obvious. They use it again soon after that really just didn’t work. The cinematography aside from that is fine I would say. It doesn’t necessarily stand out, but any issues.
Now with that said, I understand that this isn’t a great movie. It is a fun slasher, with a bit of a mean spirit without going too far. I like the group of friends and would say the acting is solid overall. I like the look of the killers and the setting really adds an element as well. The practical effects are good thanks to Winston and his crew. My only glaring issue there is the green-screen. Aside from that, it is really more of a popcorn film that I could just throw on and enjoy, knowing it isn’t great.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10