Yes, that’s right. In case you didn’t know, Wrong Turn is a franchise! This gory and violent series throws characters into the backwoods of West Virginia where they must contend with a group of sadistic incestuous hillbilly cannibals. Before we take a look at the latest installment, let’s recap what happened in the previous two.
It’s important to note that other than the locale and the cannibalistic hillbillies, these films are in no way interconnected. We don’t see a character who survived in the previous film warning others. We don’t see newspaper articles about missing persons from the first film. They are pretty independent entities.
Wrong Turn (2003) turns an auto accident in the middle of nowhere into a murderous melee. When a group of college students get into a wreck with a young businessman, the two parties team up to find help. Little do they know that there are three crazy backwoods cannibals hunting them. What follows is a fight to stay alive as arrows, axes, and booby-traps penetrate, slice, and dice through our merry band of travelers.
Starring Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse), Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order), and produced by special effects wizard Stan Winston, Wrong Turn was an exercise in gore. But it’s nothing when compared to Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) is a lot of fun. Yes, it’s sick, twisted, evil fun, but it’s still fun. Taking its cue from the deluge of reality shows that were on at the time, a group of reality show contestants are placed in the backwoods of West Virginia to “survive” the apocalypse. The winner of the game gets $100,000. The only thing is that those cannibal hillbillies have multiplied and have kids. And guess what? They want to play their own type of game.
Now, the reality show contestants must band together to survive being killed and eaten by the vicious rednecks who hunt them.
I was very impressed by how well-made this sequel was. It almost felt like this is what the first film should have been like. WT2 has tons of graphic violence, gore, and sexual content than the first film, which makes it an awesome sequel to this brand of film.
I also liked the use of practical (real) special effects as opposed to computer effects. This added a sense of realism (I know, right?) to the film and made it must more graphic. You also get a more detailed look at the lives of the hillbilly cannibals, something that I felt was missing from the first one.
Look for Henry Rollins (Sons of Anarchy) as the host of the reality show in the film. He and the rest of the cast do a fine job! [SPOILER ALERT: The black dude survives! It’s about damn time!]
Now, on to Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009).
It took me a while to really get into the film, and even when I did something felt off about it. Unlike the first two, this film centers mainly around a group of male convicts and their male guards as the try to survive a night in the West Virginia woods with one hillbilly cannibal after them.
If it doesn’t sound as exciting and graphic as the first two, you would be right. In fact this one is a sausage-fest compared to the previous two films. Even though we do get to see some female nudity at the start, the remainder of the film lacks any real female energy. Yes, there is a girl who pops up mid-way through, but she’s more of a pawn than a character you root for.
Now, unlike the Saw franchise, I feel that Wrong Turn hasn’t run out of storylines and creative things to do with its core villains. The opening sequence with a group of river rafters holds a lot of promise, and I was hoping that that would be a major piece of the story. But then the film deviates for 20-25 minutes into a Walker, Texas Ranger plot line about a prisoner transfer and a possible escape, and I became bored and lost interest.
So, by the time Three Fingers (that’s the cannibal’s name) shows up to wreak havoc on our yellow jumpsuited clan, it took a while for me to actually regain my interest in what I was watching.
That was another major issue I had with the movie: there was only ONE hillbilly cannibal after them. He can only be in so many places at once, so the danger factor was way down most of the time. In the first two (especially the sequel) you never knew who was about to get maimed because there were so many on the hunt. The stakes weren’t as high this time around.
The traps this time aren’t as abundant or as clever as the previous entries. You can also tell that a lot of computer-generated effects were used, which was less evident in the second film. While there is good action and lots of explosions, I feel that the essence of the franchise was diminished in this film. I was sadly disappointed.
Wrong Turn 3’s special features include:
Wrong Turn 3 in 3 Fingers…I Mean, Parts
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. The three “parts” mentioned on the title are: “Action, Gore and Chaos!,” “Brothers in Blood,” and “Three Finger’s Fight Night.”
Also, did you know that this movie was filmed in Bulgaria? And that most of the actors are British? Neither did I.
If they do make a Wrong Turn 4, I would like to see something in the same vein as Wrong Turn 2. More cannibals; more creative traps; more violence/gore; more nudity; and more fun. Let’s hope that someone planning the next installment listens to the fans.