What’s worse than a leather-faced madman chasing you through the bush with a chainsaw? How about three!!
“Wrong Turn” stars Desmond Harrington as Chris Finn, a man who is late for a very important interview. Finn takes a back country road to avoid a traffic jam and ends up involved in a car accident with three debutantes (Eliza Dushku, Lindy Booth and Emmanuelle Chriqui) and their boyfriends (Jeremy Sisto and Kevin Zegers). The group splits up as they try to find some help. Unbeknownst to them, they are being stalked by an unspeakable horror.
Living in the woods around the crash is a family of cannibalistic mountain men who are overtly grotesque from generations of incest. Before the group knows it, they are in a fight for their very lives.
“Wrong Turn” was in one word an utter shock to the system. There hasn’t been a film this gory, grotesque and chilling in a very long time. Not since the 1970’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” has a horror film such as this been made. The best way to describe the experience is that if you took 2001’s “Joy Ride” and “Jeepers Creepers” added 1972’s “Deliverance” then threw them all in a blender. You may come up with “Wrong Turn”.
The tension in this film is harrowing and relentless as it bats you back and forth.
You are exhausted and maybe even queasy when you come out of the theatre. But if you love horror films then you probably have an ear to ear grin as well.
I really liked some of the early editing of this film by director Rob Schmidt, who allows the scares and shocks to come with brilliant accuracy. I also liked how Schmidt barely shows the mountain men throughout the film.
The parts we do see are horrific but the filmmaker relies heavily on the chase and shock than on the gore. Schmidt could have easily dived down the gore shoot to hell but he made a wise choice that works in spades.
It’s the film’s harrowing tension and atmospheric pursuit that overshadows the young stars that make upthe cast. Dushku is strong and emulates some of her “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” character, Faith in her portrayal here. Dushku loves to play debutantes with edge and her character here has a lot of it. I wasn’t extremely familiar with Desmond Harrington before this film but he plays a good leading man.
The rest of the cast play typical generic 20-somethings from the horror film franchises of old. I have always liked Lindy Booth but she has nothing to play with here and the same is goes for Jeremy Sisto. But come on, this isn’t exactly an intelligently written and detailed drama.
I liked “Wrong Turn” purely because of its shock value and its no holds barred return to classic horror. It is always in your face and it doesn’t let go till the credits. This film isn’t for the faint of heart. What a rush!
3.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer.
Written: June 2, 2003