It's the last one you'll ever take.
Year of Release: 2003
Running Time: 84 minutes (1:24)
Director: Rob Schmidt
Desmond Harrington ... Chris Flynn
Eliza Dushku ... Jessie Burlingame
Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Carly
Jeremy Sisto ... Scott
Kevin Zegers ... Evan
Lindy Booth ... Francine
Julian Richings ... Three Finger
Garry Robbins ... Saw-Tooth
Ted Clark ... One-Eye
Wayne Robson ... Old Man
An indescribable nightmare begins when a group of young friends is stranded on an isolated road deep in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, with no hope of rescue. Desperate and fearing for their lives, the horror surges as they find themselves relentlessly pursued by a force of evil beyond their imagination! Featuring a hip ensemble of up-and-coming young stars, this blood-curdling epic is a shock-a-minute horror rush that will leave you screaming for more!
Wrong Turn: fascinating facts and amazing stories from West Virginia, with love. Incest love. First of all, an this may be one of the most important lessons you ever learn, no matter how many movies you may see. No matter how hot you may think your sister is, under no circumstances should you ever, EVER, think about it. You know the it to which I refer. I don't care how much creationism you were taught in school. Don't try to rationalize the fact that Adam an Eve's children will have unquestionably had to do the nasty for the human race to continue on. If creationism helps you to go through life, that's fine, just steer clear of the intricate details in most of the Bible stories, an don't be trying to justify your sibling lust from the Genesis angle. I shouldn't even have to mention this a first time. Second, pine trees are essentially living rubber bands. So flexible are they that you can stand on a lower branch, grab ahold of another at arm level, an bend it to a 90 degree angle for use as a weapon without so much as causing a creak in the tree. An third, (this is one point where the movie doesn't educate as well as it needs to) should some backwoods porch jockey ever let you go into cannibal country without so much as a warning, don't just tear the map off his hovel. Tear his head off his shoulders. Now, those are all things nobody should go through life ignorant of, but for this movie, these are all symptoms of a much bigger problem, an treating symptoms gets you nowhere. The real mistake everyone in the movie made, was even considering entering West Virginia. For ANY reason. Surely the number of vanishing census takers should be warning enough without looking any deeper, but apparently it wasn't. Whether it's inbred hillbillies that mistake people for the meat counter of the Piggly Wiggly, or terrifying fundamental Christians, there's nowhere in West Virginia to hide. Don't go there. Don't even fly over it, because if the plane crashes, the survivors will envy the dead. Repent, sinners, for the God Warriors will purge you of this Earth in the lord's name. They might also eat you but that's out of bodily necessity, not actual cannibalism. They require nine squares a day. An it's certainly not hip to be one of their squares.
The movie begins with a couple of over-achievers out in the woods climbing rock walls so they'll have something to brag about on Monday when they get back to the office. After reaching the top, the male of the pair celebrates his gender based upper arm strength advantage with an excessive celebration an taunting. We all know what that means. 20 yards in penalties an loss of down. Or loss of up, as it were, because within moments he sails off the clifftop an onto the rocky terrain below. Apparently someone else didn't think his behavior was appropriate either. The someones then begin pulling the female up to the top by her safety rope an she decides to cut her losses, literally. So with no rope, she tries to hang onto the rock face an grab onto the guy's rope at the same time, but blondes aren't known for their multitasking capability an she soon fills the vacant space near her boyfriend's corpse. But she's not licked yet, which is just as well, cause she's all sweaty. She's able to get up, an makes for the vehicle but trips over a strip of carefully laid barbed wire an is subsequently jerked out of the shot. Those Locks of Love people are really ruthless. Elsewhere, a guy (Chris) is driving down the freeway on his way to a job interview a couple states south of his current location, when he comes upon a traffic stop. Apparently someone hired Lindsay Lohan to drive a truck full of toxic chemicals (some of which were even in a storage tanker attached to the semi), when she jackknifed it while trying to chug a six-pack of tall boys, heat up her heroin spoon, an drive with her knees at the same time. Chris doesn't have time for this shit, an he whips around to look for an alternate route. Before too long he comes to a gas station, or at least an acre of property with a dilapidated house with a gas pump out front, an asks Gummy Joe if there's any way around the freeway wreck. Joe's lips say no, but his map says yes, an Chris takes off down the dirt road towards the freeway cut-off. Along the way, he impacts some clever individuals who not only don't carry spare tires, but who also think it's a good idea to park in the middle of the road when you develop a flat.
Those traction tire chains the old codger recommended really worked great for awhile, until the barbed wire started sticking in the tires instead of the road. I guess every great invention has kinks to work out. Unfortunately, everyone's okay, an with the two vehicles trashed like Courtney Love on New Years Eve, they head down the road to look for help. In West Virginia. In RURAL West Virginia, with out-of-town accents. Except for the two stoners anyway, they wanna hang out at the crash site an rifle through Chris' car like starving racoons an fornicate. After fornicating gets old, the guy goes out behind a bush to spew something else out of his penis, but fails to return. The girl is used to this sort of thing, guys always leave when they're done with her, but after a few minutes of not hearing the guy bragging to someone about it, she gets concerned an goes looking for him. Not far away, on the ground, she finds his ear. He never listened anyway, but she realizes this is still probably not someplace she wants to be an she turns to run, only the weed slows her reaction time an a big nasty thing wearing Oshkosh B'Goshes wraps one of the barbed wire traction tire chains around her face an pulls on it until her mouth is the size of Julia Roberts'. Back on the road, the crew finds an old cabin with about a hundred cars parked on the acreage, an they figure they're in luck, because only Jay Leno has a car collection this large, an maybe he'll let them borrow one. But no one's home. So they head inside THE CABIN LOCATED IN RURAL WEST VIRGINIA an find typical stuff. Shiny car key collection, fridge full of severed body parts, a pile of barbed wire traction tire chains... say, maybe the guys that made 'em can show them how to put 'em on correctly. Only those guys come home around that time, an drop the stoner girl's corpse right next to Chris an Jessie's hiding spot. Chris an Jessie can only hold perfectly still an think about what a piss poor job that dentist did of getting the stoner chick's bracers on correctly.
After that, The Oakridge Boys string her up an start whittling her down into fun size pieces until they peter out an lay down for a nap. Seizing the opportunity, Chris an Jessie sneak out from under the bed, while Scott an Carly come out of the shitter, an in trying to be quiet make more noise than they ever would have if they'd just walked out the front door, which wakes up TOB (The Oakridge Boys). The city folk run up the hill an TOB hop in their wrecker an take off down the road so's they can have a few minutes to listen to the country station an get some coffee in them. They're useless until they've had their coffee. Both the hill, an the road, lead to a car graveyard, an while the city folk try to wrap their heads around what just happened, TOB pull up an start trying to flush 'em out. Chris formulates a genius plan an runs for the tree line flapping his arms like a wounded duck an shouting polysyllabic insults at them to draw their fire. He succeeds only in taking a round to the knee (a round, not an arrow), so the other guy (Scott) has to run the other direction to draw them away from Chris. This time the plan works an TOB chase Scott off into the woods while the girls are able to get Chris' dead weight up an into the wrecker, which TOB ingeniously left running. It's not exactly Gone in 60 Seconds, but it gets the job done, an they barrel down the road, where they're able to spot Scott heading for them, only he stops an gets this look on his face like a gay guy that just bit into a Chik-Fil-A sandwich an found more than he bargained for. Then, an arrow penetrates his chest, then another, an he finally concedes that it's probably better than having to marry Carly anyway, an collapses. Then, after a couple arrows penetrate the truck, Chris finally hits the gas an they're off like a dirty condom. Unfortunately, the road dead ends a short distance ahead, an they have to ditch the truck. Along the way, Chris explains to Carly that the mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, an Scott was pierced by many, but it doesn't seem to help. Then after what probably seems like an eternity of Carly's nonsensical babbling, they come across a forest service tower an climb up. The only useful items they find are some glow sticks, an it really doesn't seem like an appropriate time or place for a rave, so they put them away an keep searching.
Eventually they find an old radio an try to contact anyone at least marginally less likely to try to put arrows in them, an succeed, only they've got the volume turned up loud enough that the 85 year old ex-lumberjack that used to work the tower could actually hear it, an TOB hear them an try to board their ship. After getting their inbred fingers smashed in the trap door a couple times TOB finally give up an decide to hickory smoke them an set the tower on fire, leaving the normies no other choice but to jump into a nearby tree. But the nimble Oakridge Boy, Three Finger, scurries up the tree an puts an axe in Carly's face so he won't have to listen to her whine about Scott anymore an everything below the axe plummets to the ground below. Shut your whore mouth when Three Finger is cackling. Further ahead, in the next tree, Chris an Jessie have setup an ambush for him, an just when he gets close enough that he can practically taste her tender vittles, Chris releases the branch he's had bent back an knocks Three Finger out of the park like Mark McGuire. They're eventually able to elude TOB an get back onto the ground, where they hide behind a waterfall for the night, an are able to abstain from what most directors would consider an unavoidable sex scene. The next morning, they soldier on, finally locating a road. While discussing whether Chris can make it down the hill with his knee all busted like, One Eye shows up an makes the decision for him an snatches Jessie up an drags her back to Oakridge country where the stew pot awaits. Once Chris is able to stop doing his Chris Farley impression, he notices a sheriff's vehicle coming down the road an frantically tries to get the sheriff to understand his unaccented speech. But it's just not happening, an to make matters worse, Saw Tooth peeks out from behind a tree an sticks an arrow in the sheriff's eye socket. Chris tries to drive off, but the sheriff isn't so inbred that he leaves the keys in the ignition an has to get out to rifle the corpse. But Saw Tooth is already down the hill an he rifles the corpse first, gets the keys, tosses the Kentucky fried sheriff in the back of the truck an heads for home. But just before he drives off, Chris rolls under the car from his hiding spot an grabs onto the frame, because that's the kind of man he is. He's gonna ride this one out an see if he can't get Jessie's goodies before TOB eat 'em.
Prepare yourselves, for what I'm about to say; it won't be said very often. Remember where you were on this day. Wrong Turn is a modern horror movie, that is good. What we have here is a movie you'd expect to be conceived if The Texas Chainsaw Massacre an The Hills Have Eyes were to fornicate. It's a lot more like Hills than Saw, but there are a few elements from Saw that fit better than Hills. The casting is probably the biggest one, a group of young friends, rather than a family. An the fact that the hill-folk in Wrong Turn are civilized enough that they have a dwelling an a means of preserving their vittles, where as in Hills, the family is considerably more feral, an shun fancy things like electricity. Ultimately, it makes little difference which movie it borrows from more, because those two movies that it chooses to borrow from, are two of the greatest ever made. It's tough to go wrong, drawing from two pieces of source material as good as Saw an Hills. So with that said, we know the plot is a sure winner. No further discussion is necessary. More good news, it's a cast of unknowns. But unknowns that can act. One of the few objections I'll make about this movie is that it really could have used a character actor. Using Hills as an example again, we'd be talking about John Steadman. Ever watch movie credits an notice the very last name that rolls will be "with" somebody, or "and someone as this character"? That's what I'm talking about. We've got no character actor that we all know, as some character that's ultimately not that important to the plot, but that gives the movie bonus points for casting someone we'll recognize and enjoy. Brad Dourif as The Exterminator in Graveyard Shift, M. Emmett Walsh as Sheriff Harv in Critters, Tom Savini as Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn, this is what I'm talking about. That would have pushed this up into 90% territory. You'll also notice the correlation between how good this movie is and how little CGI it has. One scene, that comes to mind, has CGI. Just one. And unless you're watching on a huge TV, you probably won't even notice it, as the effect drops into the background.
The conventional effects, which are of course, The Oakridge Boys? Made by Stan Winston's crew. Which basically means, top of the line. There are a few other studios that do work of this quality, but not many. I'd imagine this entire industry is shrinking at a pretty rapid rate these days, considering the shift to CG effects. Anyway, what else? Good shooting locations, as you may have already known, West Virginia is way too scary for a crew of city slickers from a concrete jungle to enter, an this movie was shot entirely in Canada. Shooting in Canada is generally a good idea anyway, as you won't have to spend half your budget paying frivolous fees. More money makes it onto the screen this way, an the shots all look just as good. The soundtrack isn't anything special, but provides adequate atmosphere and never stands out. In all honesty, the soundtrack isn't supposed to stand out, except while the credits are rolling. You do generally want to put something snappy on while the opening credits are rolling so no one goes to the bathroom, though. From the perspective of someone who doesn't get much out of the majority of a movie's instrumental soundtrack, if I end up liking the movie, an failed to really notice much about the soundtrack, I generally assume it was at least adequate. The reason being is that the soundtrack is really just playing a supporting roll to put the atmosphere over. You're really not supposed to notice it, unless that kind of music is your thing and you have a tendency to listen for it specifically. So it was probably good, because I didn't notice it much. Overall, it joins a very select group of horror movies made since the the millennium rolled over that I enjoy. The sequels are, as sequels usually are, enjoyable, but not as good as the original. Recommended for horror fans that enjoy the good stuff, by which I mean the 1970s an 1980s. Good villains, good plot, great reason never to set foot in West Virginia. Least not if you've got five toes. Check it out.