REVIEWED BY BOZZ
Wrong Turn (2003)
Running Time: 88 mins
So I figured Wrong Turn was well worth a revisit and decided to purchase it last week. How the hell it never ended up in my collection from day of release I’ll never know. After seeing at the flicks and enjoying it for some reason I dismissed it as a tame studio attempt to produce a slasher with Stan Winstons SFX as the main draw and until I watched it again a few nights ago I’d forgotten how much of a little genre gem this baby is.
The plot of the film is simple. After a nifty prologue which tells us all we need to know (there is something amiss in the woods in West Virginia) we meet Chris Flynn (Harrington). All Chris wants to do is get to a job interview on time but thanks to freeway accident he is forced to find an alternate route and naturally takes a wrong turn. (See what I did there?). Before we can say ‘No Chris! Don’t be so careless with your life, it’s just a job’ fate introduces him to Jessie Burlingame (Dushku) and her buddies who are out camping. They’ve had a spot of car trouble themselves. Like all good slashers flicks our heroes decide to split up and look for help and then the fun begins.
Let me start out by saying that Wrong Turn plays out like a mix of Texas Chainsaw and Deliverance and for some reason it shouldn’t work. But it does. The film is tight. At only 88 minutes long it manages to cram in some amazing set pieces. A tree top chase scene is one of the most breath taking scenes I’ve seen in a film of this kind ever! Totally original and the pay off is insane. Also the kills are brutal. Just really, very nasty and no one gets to go out in a dignified manner regardless of how heroically they may have behaved throughout the film. Praise has to go to Winston for the look of his inbred muties. He manages to keep a balance between the gross and the threatening without the make up looking goofy and funny. Yes Victor Crowley I’m talking about you here.
The performances are all solid. It’s no surprise most of the cast have managed to carve out solid careers to this day. Desmond Harrington makes Chris a likeable guy who acts in a believable manner. Dushku starts off being Dushku, the total bad ass from the get go but displays some more tender moments as the film progresses which helps us buy her character. Yet the stands out for me are Sisto and Chriqui as the young couple who are newly engaged. Totally buy their chemistry and for me they gave the best performances and you really root for their characters. Good work. Special mention has to go to Julian Richings as Three Thinger the smallest of the inbred clan and by far the most deadly and terrifying. He’s like their little ninja. Great work. The direction is good and Schmidt does a great job of bringing it all together.
Wrong Turn deserves a revisit for those like me who may have forgotten how good it is or if you are yet to see it. I’d go as far to say it’s most of the best America slasher of the last 10 to 15 years. It’s a shame to see so much praise landed on to Adam Greens Hatchet, while still a decent film in it’s own right, I’d argue Wrong Turn is the better slasher of modern American horror.
If you enjoy it wait until you get a load of Wrong Turn 2: Dead End!!