Director Rob Schmidt’s “Wrong Turn” may very well be a sensationalized, modern rendering of “Deliverance,” devoid of character development and theme and replete with wanton gore and horror violence; nonetheless, it makes for an unsettling yet satisfactory movie going experience.
Chris (Desmond Harrington, “Ghost Ship”) is an aspiring, young doctor driving his vintage Mustang through West Virginia en route to a job interview in Raleigh. Upon getting entangled in a mess of traffic resulting from a jackknifed chemical truck, Chris opts to circumvent the traffic jam by taking an unpaved mountain road. The road less traveled proves not to be the wisest, though, as he rear ends a broken down SUV after glancing away from the road for several seconds.
After regaining his bearings, Chris introduces himself to the group of young travelers led by Jessie (Eliza Dushku, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”), only to find out that their tires were punctured by barbed wire apparently laid in the road by pranksters. The group decides to separate, sending Chris, Jessie and two others to find a telephone while another two remain at the car.
The phone seekers eventually locate a cabin that, judging by the smoking chimney, is inhabited; however, upon entering, the group finds itself to be in the lair of a band of savage hunters that has indeed taken human victims, including their friends they left at the car. The film evolves into a brutal struggle for survival against an enemy that redefines savagery.
“Wrong Turn” is an unapologetic exercise in titillating thrills and horror special effects. The makers paired special effects genius Stan Winston (creator of creatures in “Aliens,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Jurassic Park”) with the producers of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Resident Evil” to craft a film that captures the eerie suspense and intrigue of desolate wilderness while also showcasing intense horror carnage.
Little praise can be given to the other technical facets of “Wrong Turn,” but frankly, those involved with the project didn’t likely seek commendation for the rest of the film. Its score wasn’t remarkable, the acting and cast were both mediocre and the screenplay was formulaic; however, in comparison to many others in its genre and for its achievements in its focal areas, “Wrong Turn” deserves praise.
Rating: 3 stars.