WRONG TURN. (2003) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

wrong turn

WRONG TURN. DIRECTED BY ROB SCHMIDT. WRITTEN BY ALAN MCELROY. STARRING DESMOND HARRINGTON AND ELIZA DUSHKU. MAKE-UP SPECIAL EFFECTS BY STAN WINSTON.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an excellent ‘backwoods’ horror film, ‘backwoods’ meaning a film where a bunch of young American ‘normals’ are travelling to a certain place for – usually – vacationary purposes, but they accidentally take the titular ‘wrong turn’ and end up in a hellish nightmare from which there seems to be no escape. And, for the unlucky few, there may well be no escape.

You can always rely on at least three young ‘uns out of the party of five – two loved-up couples and a single guy, usually the joker or the stoner – not surviving till the end of the movie. The only survivors are, for the most part, the nicest of the couples or the girl who’s not the skank, lol. We already know by now how most of these things go, as you can see.

WRONG TURN follows the formula but that’s no bad thing, because at least they do it well. It’ll put you in mind of DELIVERANCE, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES (both original and re-make), WOLF CREEK, MOTHER’S DAY and any other film you’ve ever seen where the young ‘uns have to battle ferociously with the indigenous natives of the seriously God-forsaken area in which they were misguided enough to get lost.

Chris Flynn is a handsome young clean-cut all-American medical student who seems to be travelling to a very important interview, maybe for an internship at a good hospital or something. An oil tanker spilling its load onto the main road causes Chris to unwisely take a back road he sees on a map at a gas station.

The gas station should have given him his first clue as to what kind of danger he’s letting himself in for. Rust-eaten and neglected with no working phones, it’s manned by a sneering, toothless native who delights in not warning Chris about the reason that Bear Mountain Road is not a popular choice with the local population…

On this self-same Bear Mountain Road, Chris’s car collides badly with another car. This is probably the most traffic Bear Mountain Road has seen in, like, forever. Both cars are totalled, and so Chris and the occupants of the other vehicle decide that they’re going to have to walk to the nearest house and telephone for help.

Francine and Evan, a loved-up couple from the second car, stay behind with their jalopy to smoke weed and have sex while the others go for help. We can feel that greedy, hungry eyes are watching the couple and suffice it to say that it’s the last sex-and-weed combo that these two poor unlucky kids are ever going to have. And their friends aren’t faring much better…

The remaining young ‘uns are Chris and a gorgeous, newly-unattached babe called Jess, played by Eliza Dushku from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and a couple called Scott and Carly. Scott is lovely and Carly is whingy and annoying, and you just know that Carly will get killed – if there’s any justice in the world at all – and that Chris and Jess, both ridiculously easy on the eye, are going to end up together.

Together they trek through the deserted roads of the backwoods until they come to the one house in the whole entire region to which they really should have given a big fat wide berth. If their first clue was the creepy, run-down gas station, then their second should certainly have been the eerie automobile graveyard that surrounds this ill-fated house.

Methinks that inside this accursed dwelling, the kids will find all sorts of tragic souvenirs that once belonged to the owners of these trashed vehicles. And that’s not all they’ll find either, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed.

It’s literally the house from hell and poor Chris, Jess, Scott and Carly are about to meet its three inhabitants, three brothers horrifically mutated from centuries of in-breeding. These lads make the Orcs from THE LORD OF THE RINGS look like Dean Martin in his finest, suavest tux. I’m telling you, you’ll see them in your nightmares…

Highlights include the scene in the watch-tower in the middle of the spooky dense woods, and the brilliant scene where the kids are trying to escape from the house while the three horrors are sleeping, tired out from their most recent kill.

It’s like something out of a scary fairytale, like Jack and the Beanstalk maybe, because the three lads, Three Fingers, Saw-Tooth and One Eye, are just like the giant from the story, only considerably more hideous. Mind you, putting these three lads into a kid’s story would only lead to years and years of costly psychiatry in the long run and would not be advisable.

I also love the scene where a tied-up Jess, about to be raped maybe, chopped-up and cannibalised, although God knows in what order, tries to appeal to the least hideous of the brothers to let her go free.

He looks at her and she thinks he’s understanding her, but then comes that awful moment when she realises that her words are no more than pretty little noises to this overgrown imbecile.

A nice little sex scene between Chris and the delicious Jess in the cave behind the waterfall wouldn’t have gone amiss, but other than that one little omission the film is top-notch. Jess, however, should lay all the blame for this nightmarish weekend at the door of her four friends, who decided that such a foray into the outdoors would cheer her up after being dumped. I really wonder what jolly delights the friends were planning as an encore? A trip to the dentist…?

The First Policeman On The Scene is present and correct here too, and we all know what happens to these poor coppers, right? And surprisingly Chris, the posh affluent medical school student whom we assume is going to be a big pussy in the face of the mutants, actually comes into his own as he not only tries to escape the monsters – with Jess in tow, of course – but he’s not averse to getting a bit of his own back on them as well. The desire for vengeance is strong in this one. Let’s hope he gets it…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

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