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:: Wrong Turn

It seems that the current crop of teen slasher films has temporarily died down, until along comes another to resurrect them yet again. “Wrong Turn” attempts to take the terror back into nature and this time our foes are mutated cannibal people-things called Three-Finger, Saw-Tooth and One-Eye.

Our victims are yet again the standard attractive late teens to early twenty something out on an impromptu camping trip to mend a friend, Jessie’s broken heart, whilst also dealing with a broken down car in the middle of a deserted road-less-travelled in the middle of the woods. Coming full steam ahead and right into the group’s car is Chris who we are told is rushing to get a job interview out in the middle of somewhere. Within 10 minutes our victims are assembled and ready for the taking. Quickly the old stereotype of sex and drugs equals’ death is put into play with the first couple Evan and Francine being killed off immediately in a horrific violent, mysterious way. Was it man or beast?

Meanwhile Chris and his new friends Jessie, Carly and fiancée Scott have gone hiking in search of some salvation and instead stumble upon a small cabin littered with cars and vans and camping equipment on its property. After having a look inside (because Carly needs to go to the bathroom) they discover dead body pieces and hacking tools, hmm wonder what they’re for. Anyway just as this gruesome discovery is made, in comes in the three mutated pigs with their dinner, the four promptly hide in time and yes in most tense and obvious places to be found. With some obligatory close calls Jessie and Chris witness the other two car minders Evan and Francine being hacked up by the gleefully excitably freaks. Once they make they’re daring escape the group reconvene to decide what to do next, steal their car, which they successfully do but lose one member of their posse in the process. The other three find a tree house cabin and seek refuge in it, although somebody forgot to tell them that they really should put out the lights if they don’t want to be found. In another daring escape they lose one more and this chase culminates with another few close calls with local police and mutants.

Of course the two survive in the end and yes it is one of those films where the freaks don’t die no matter how many times you kill them (Oops there’s a spoiler right there) and the inevitable sequel is possibly all set and ready to go for the next North American Summer holidays.

Predictable premise aside it is quite a good thriller/horror/gore fest breathing new life into a tired and overworked formula. The setting outdoors is welcome and refreshing to watch especially the chase sequence on the treetops. “Wrong Turn” also has several elements that many horror films of late have compromised for the sake of the blood and guts (although this does have it fair share) and that’s tension, it has quite a strong build of tension especially in the second half of the film where it has slowly been working away and reaches breaking point. The acting from the main four is quite plausible and competent, Eliza Dushku as Jessie (When is she ever going to get a good role to play other than Faith?), Desmond Harrington as Chris and Jeremy Sisto as Scott. They are all competent actors, but yes the characterisation is weak and stereotypical but then you can’t win them all.

Directed by Rob Schmidt (“Crime and Punishment in Suburbia”) and Co-Produced by Visual Effects master and Academy Award Winner Stan Winston (“Terminator 2,” “Aliens,” “Batman Returns,” “Interview with a Vampire” amongst many, many others) and written by Alan B. McElroy (“Spawn”), it does have the elements in place for a good thriller… for now.