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Wrong Turn (18)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by director Robert Schmidt, Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington; Deleted scenes; Poster gallery; 4 featurettes.

When a group of teens take a wrong turn into the West Virginian wilderness, they inadvertently find themselves being chased by a trio of grossly disfigured, in-bred cannibals, prompting the start of another Hollywood gore-fest aimed purely at appealing to the blood-lust of hardened horror fans.

Ironic then, that it ends up being more funny than frightening, despite the random violence which punctuates proceedings throughout.

Rob Schmidt’s film is the type of horror flick that is based purely on other, far better, efforts, making its shortcomings all the more noticeable by comparison.

In a self-referential highpoint, one of the soon-to-be victims actually warns his colleagues, ‘haven’t you heard about a little film called Deliverance’, but his words go unheeded, as most of the entourage quickly find themselves on the menu.

Aside from John Boorman’s redneck nightmare, Wrong Turn also takes in The Last House on the Left, as well as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without ever coming close to realising the fear factor of any.

Desmond Harrington stars as the unwitting hero of the piece, who is forced to face up to the secrets of the backwoods after crashing into a car full of teens, comprised of Eliza Dushku’s heartbroken loner and her supportive friends.

Their ensuing search for help leads them into a house in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by the disfigured mutants, who prefer to despatch their victims with knives and hacksaws, rather than the chainsaw preferred by Mr Leatherface himself.

Hence, when not watching their friends being carved up and dismembered, the survivors are running and screaming through the trees, along the way to the inevitable confrontations.

Taken with a pinch of salt, there is some fun to be had if you make that wrong turn into the movie theatre, but those seeking genuine chills are likely to feel cheated.

The best horror films thrive on their ability to make viewers feel uncomfortable, while forcing that chill to run down your spine. Hence, the likes of The Blair Witch Project, or even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, score points with their low-budget feel and the way in which they play up the psychological terror - allowing your mind to run riot by not showing too much.

Wrong Turn gets lost in its desire to show everything - coming across as a horror movie for the MTV generation, with some sharp cinematography, too many failed references, too few characters to root for, and its penchant for gore.

Its central freaks - the creatively named Saw-Tooth, One-Eye and Three Finger - also don’t appear frightening, with one, in particular, appearing like the long lost brother of the Two Towers’ Gollum, and generating chuckles as a result.

One can only feel sorry for the West Virginian tourist board, who must now be tiring of seeing everyone portrayed as either a redneck degenerate, or, worse, a dopey member of the sherriff’s department who is unable, even, to save the day!

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