Oh good, another cookie cutter horror movie that everyone wonders why it was made. I will be honest, when I first saw the trailers for this movie, it honestly didn’t have any real originality to it in my opinion. The only thing about it that even remotely piqued my interest was Eliza Dushku being in it, but that honestly wasn’t enough to get me into the theater to see it. I did eventually rent it when it came out on DVD and yes, this ended up being another Blockbuster purchase. Now let’s see if it was worth the purchase as I watch today’s movie, Wrong Turn.
The plot: College students Rich Stoker and Halley Smith are rock climbing in a remote West Virginia forest. Rich reaches the top first and calls out for Halley to hurry up but when she asks Rich to help pull her up, she hears a commotion and Rich’s body appears at the edge of the ledge, with blood dripping down onto Halley. Suddenly, Rich’s body disappears from view before it is tossed off the cliff and somebody starts pulling Halley up the cliff. Halley disconnects her safety line and and attempts to grabs Rich’s line but she ends up falling off the cliff and lands next to Rich’s body. Hearing maniacal laughter as someone makes his way through the brush down the cliff, Halley gets up and starts to head back to their car when she trips on some barbed wire and is dragged back into the forest. A week later, medical student Chris Flynn is driving through the West Virginia mountains on his way to Raleigh for a meeting when he gets stuck in traffic due to a tractor trailer jack-knifing and spilling chemicals onto the highway. Turning around, he attempts to call the company he is meeting to say he will be late when he realizes that he has no signal in the mountains. Making a turn to stop at a gas station, Chris asks the owner to use his phone but finds the pay phone doesn’t work. Seeing a map on the side of of the store, Chris notices an unpaved road called Bear Mountain Road that appears to meet up with the highway after a couple of miles and he decides to take it. As Chris heads down the road, he gets distracted by the sight of a dead deer and ends up crashing into a car that is stopped in the middle of the road. As Chris gets out of his car in a daze, 4 college kids (Carly, Scott, Evan, and Francine) show up, with Francine upset that he wrecked her mom’s car. Chris asks why they were stopped in the middle of the road and Evan tells him they blew out their tires on some barbed wire that was left in the road. A 5th teenager, Jessie, appears and says it wasn’t an accident as she found the barbed wire tied to a tree off the side of the road. Jessie wants to head to the gas station to use their phone but Chris tells them he was just there and it was out of order so she decides to continue on the road till they find some help, telling Chris that he can carry her bag since he hit their car. Scott and Carly decide to go with them but Evan and Francine stay by the cars in case someone drives by. As they make their way down the road, the see a fire off the side of the road and call out to see if anyone is there but when they get no response, they keep moving. Back at the cars, Francine is going through Chris’s car while Evan is looking for some food in their car when he hears something in the woods and goes to check it out. When Francine notices his is missing, she goes looking for him and finds his shoe and a few feet away, his ear and as she backs away in horror, she is killed when someone wraps some barbed wire around her face and neck and chokes her to death with it. Back on the road, the group eventually come to a cabin and call out to see if anyone is there. Getting no response, Chris decides to head inside to see if they have a phone and the others reluctantly follow him. As they look around the cabin, they find evidence that the inhabitants are cannibals and they go to leave only to see a tow truck pulling up, with their cars in tow and they are forced to hide in the cabin. The disfigured cannibals (Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and One Eye) enter the cabin, dragging Francine’s body with them, and proceed to dismember and eat part of her, while the horrified teens watch. When the cannibals go to sleep, Chris and the others attempt to sneak out of the cabin, with Chris holding the spring for the screen door so it doesn’t make any noise but as they leave, Saw Tooth wakes up and spots Chris and he quickly yells for them to run. They head up the cliff and reach a clearing that is full of the cars from the cannibal’s victims and quickly hide when they see the cannibals coming in their truck. As the cannibals get out to start looking for them, Chris comes up with the plan to steal their truck, then runs out to distract the cannibals but One Eye shoots him in the leg. Scott then runs off in the other direction, leading the cannibals away. Jessie and Carly go help Scott and they get in the truck, finding Evan’s body stored inside, and drive off, with Three Finger coming back to chase after them. They drive down the road looking for Scott and eventually see him but as they call out for him to get in the truck, Scott is shot repeatedly in the back with Saw Tooth’s arrows and killed. Chris, Jessie, and Carly continue driving down the road but find it blocked by a fallen tree and are forced to continue walking through the woods. They eventually find an old watchtower and climb up it to see if there is anything there they can use. They find some old medical supplies that Jessie and Chris use to tend to his leg, and a radio which they use to try and call for help but get no response. Chris sees the cannibals searching for them with torches and has them duck down and cover up the lights they found. The cannibals start to pass them by but the radio suddenly crackles as some responds to their call for help, alerting the cannibals to where they are. Three Finger starts climbing up the ladder and Chris and Jessie work on barricading the entrance while Carly tries to tell the people on the other end what is going on. Unable to get into the tower, the cannibals set the tower on fire to try and force the kids out. Carly breaks a window, saying she would rather jump than be killed in a fire and Chris says they should jump, saying the branches of the nearby tree can hold them. They all jump and land in the tree and when they see an arrow hit a branch near them, they decide to walk along the branches to get away. Three Finger climbs up the tree and decapitates Carly before she can start walking, much to Jessie’s horror. Chris and Jessie keep moving for a little bit, then Chris decides to set a trap for Three Finger. As Jessie yells out for him and lures him towards her, Chris, on another branch, is holding a third branch back and once Three Finger is in position, he lets go and the branch knocks Three Finger out of the tree. As One Eye and Saw Tooth go to check on their brother, Chris and Jessie manage to escape. Taking shelter in a cave behind a waterfall, Chris tells Jessie he is sorry about her friends and she explains that her boyfriend had just broken up with her and so Carl and the others decided to take her camping to get away from everything, and Chris tries to tell her it is not her fault as she feels guilty for their deaths. The next day, Chris and Jessie see the main road and start to head down the cliff towards it when they are attacked by One Eye and Saw Tooth, knocking Chris down the cliff while grabbing Jessie and taking her away. Seeing a police SUV coming, Chris rushes out onto the road to stop it and try to get him to help save Jessie but Saw Tooth shoots the cop in the eye with an arrow. Chris tries to drive off in the police SUV but find the keys are missing so he is forced to hide. Saw Tooth approaches the car but doesn’t see any sign of Chris so he puts the cop’s body in the SUV and drives off, with Chris quickly hitching a ride underneath. Back at their cabin, Jessie is tied up on one of the beds and One Eye is about to start cutting her when he is distracted by Saw Tooth arriving with the cop. As the cannibals begin hacking up the cop then approach Jessie to kill her, a fire suddenly erupts in the doorway. One Eye goes to investigate and is run over by Chris in the police SUV. Chris then attacks and stabs Saw Tooth, seemingly killing him but when he starts to free Jessie, Saw Tooth rises up and attacks him. As Saw Tooth starts to over power him, Jessie manages to finish freeing herself and shoots him in the back of the head with an arrow. Three Finger, who had survived the fall out of the tree, suddenly appears and starts attacking them but Chris chokes him with barbed wire and Jessie grabs an axe and hits him in the shoulder/chest with it. As they back out of the cabin, they see all three cannibals are still alive and attempting to still get them so Chris shoots the gas cans on the back of the police SUV, causing an explosion that destroys the cabin and kills the cannibals. Chris and Jessie drive off in the cannibals tow truck, stopping at the gas station briefly, where Chris rips the map off the wall, before heading back onto the highway. Sometime later, a deputy arrives at the cabin and begins searching the ruins when Three Finger, who survived the explosion, appears behind him and kills him with an axe.
Wrong Turn met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “An unremarkable slasher flick that fails to distinguished itself from others of its ilk.” Several of the cast and crew ended up getting poison ivy during filming as their chairs were mistakenly placed in what was thought to be some weeds but turned out to be a large patch of the rash inducing plants. Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth, who played Evan and Francine, would also go on to play another couple in another horror movie, 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $28.7 million off of a $12.6 million budget and would spawn 5 follow up films, 2 sequels and 3 prequels.
This was a decent horror movie but honestly it was pretty predictable. The acting was ok, with Eliza Dushku (Jessie), Desmond Harrington (Chris) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Carly) did pretty decent jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not incredibly original, as the whole disfigured/mutated group of people/cannibals attacking a group of people has been done time and time again. It didn’t matter that both Chris and Jessie survived, as everyone could have died and it wouldn’t have made this feel different from any other slasher movie. The effects were pretty good and I did think that they did a decent job in downplaying some unnecessary gore that they could have thrown in to make it bloodier. It’s a decent movie but not something that is worth going out of your way to watch.
Rating: 3 out of 5