Horror / Thriller
Wrong Turn
Dir: Rob Schmidt
Star: Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 2003
Format: DVD R2

Young doctor Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington), rushes to a career interview but gets delayed by a long tailback caused by a bad accident several miles in front of him, and from which there is no way past. In a rush to get to his interview, he turns round and heads back toward a gas station nearby where he sees a map, which indicates an alternate route down a rough track that will circumvent the accident and the delays. As he isn't concentrating on his driving he runs into the back of a Range Rover which has been waylaid due to some barb wire getting caught around the wheels. Luckily the vehicle was empty when he ran into it, but they soon appear when it becomes apparent that neither vehicle is going anywhere. Leaving two of the group to look after the vehicles, the group comprising Chris, young moody recently dumped chick Jessie (Eliza Dushku) and her three friends set off down the road to get help. It isn't long before they run into a small band of cannibal, mutant mountain men intent on having them for dinner..... The main course

Right from the offset, I should point out that Wrong Turn owes a lot to The Hills Have Eyes and Deliverance . In fact, this film even has a similar style, feel and atmosphere to the classic 70's horror / thrillers at times. Although, I doubt that this film will gain as much of a cult following, as this story is essentially yet another teenagers in distress, hack 'n' slash thriller. That said this is a good revival of an old beastie and the whole cannibal mountain men angle is very well put together here. The effects courtesy of producer Stan Winston's Studio are excellent (as always) not to mention the make up effects, although I have to admit that I did find the brutal dismemberment of Francine (Lindy Booth) rather macabre and yet captivating. So much so, that you just daren't take your eyes off the screen.

Thankfully, Wrong Turn tries to be more than your typical run of the mill teen horror escapade which is probably another reason why they went back to the seventies for inspiration, but it is still very cliché despite being overrall better than average. Visually this is quite impressive in places with effects and some of the action set pieces. But, it isn't brilliant and not a particularly terrifying film although it is very atmospheric in places, gruesome and chillingly entertaining. Not a very well rounded or even a particularly textured piece of writing or production but it does prove a rather unpleasant mise en scene with some simple but good direction backed up by some infrequently good cinematography and a couple of good, solid performances. Namely Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington. Dushku is very good but it is hard to appreciate her as anything other than "Faith " from Buffy the Vampire Slayer as this seems to be near enough the same character that she always plays. In her defence though this is a much better performance than the lame non-event that was Soul Survivors. Desmond Harrington also provides a good performance in his own way and does exhibit some talent, but he could really do with a better role to prove his abilities, but this performance is better than the one we got in Ghost Ship. The remaining cast are somewhat negligible to be honest as the rest of them may just as well have "Dead-Meat" or "I'm Next" tattooed upon their foreheads as the film is that predictable and the characters are that poorly written. Seeing as Alan B. McElroy ( Ballistic: Ecks Vs Sever) is creditted with the writing of this film, you shouldn't be too surprised.

This is a likeable movie in spite of being unoriginal, and it does revamp the whole "beware the woods" and hill billy concepts, but you just can't get away from the thought that you have seen all this before. The hurling oneself from a great height and breaking your fall with tree branches 20 metres below you we can of course thank First Blood for and the mutant, Cannibal mountain men aspect is straight from Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, added to which you have some of the claustophobic atmosphere of the hill billys stalking them through the forest which is of course very Deliverance. There are other minor set pieces which creep in here and there which you know that you have seen before, the decapitation in the tree has been done before albeit in Hong Kong cinema and it was using a sword, which I did think was a better death scene but this incarnation works well enough in this context. Don't get me wrong, I like this film a lot and it is good to see new life being breathed into film projects especially when it is horror / thrillers even if it does mean plagiarising certain cult classics. The story is certainly not very taxing or challenging and the characters need a lot of development because even when you know that they are going to die, you don't particularly care. This isn't a captivating, grab you by the short and curlies and drag you along at a breakneck pace scare the ka ka out of you horror thriller, so don't expect one. But, despite being derivative it is a grisly and entertaining watch and a welcome change from the norm and not half as nonsensical as this years other "teens in distress / in the woods" horror movie Cabin Fever.

Lets face it, every backwater forest should have an in-bred, mutated cannibal family living in a cadaverous cabin of horrors.


It's the last one you'll ever make.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Good transfer nice and crisp
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Cool and good quality soundtrack
Features Good semi-animated menu
Audio Commentary by Director Rob Schmidt and stars Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku
Extended and deleted scenes
"The Making Of Wrong Turn" - featurette
"Eliza Dushku: Babe In The Woods" - featurette
"Fresh Meat: The Wounds Of Wrong Turn" - featurette
"Stan Winston" - featurette
Poster Gallery
Verdict A good presentation with some decent extras but the featurettes are very short

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home