Wrong Turn [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (6th November 2009).
The Film

The "Wrong Turn" series (2003-2009) of movies are sort of like Big Foot to me. I know of their presence, but never really paid much attention to the franchise. However, I started catching glimpses of these movies as previews on other films I had to review. The small clips that I saw surely looked like a beast. Then I started hearing that the straight-to-video sequels were actually far better than people would expect. As time went on I got more and more curious about it, but never could bring myself to investigate the series any further. Imagine my excitement however, when I found out that I would be reviewing the first two installments of the franchise. It was like being told you were going to be meeting your long lost father. Or Big Foot. OK, so maybe the parable doesnít hold up, but does the movie?

No, not really. "Wrong Turn" has the recipe for a good-for-what-it-is horror movie written all over it. The movie dips into the genre of back water freaks terrorizing hot teenagers in the spirit of "Wolf Creek" (2005) or "The Hills Have Eyes" (2006), two films I enjoyed immensely. However, "Wrong Turn" fails to deliver on any of itís promising features, whether it be a horror movie or a movie that just plain has Eliza Dushku in it.

The story begins with Chris (Desmond Harrington) driving cross-country to get to an important meeting. He approaches a blocked section of traffic along the highway and learns that a chemical spill up the way will take a few hours to clean up. Short on time, Chris turns around and tries to find an alternate route. He decides to take a back path through the woods, but ends up hitting a parked car in the middle of the road. A group of teens come out of the woods and tell Chris that they blew out their tires on a barbed wire trap. Chris goes off the find help with Jessie (Eliza Dushku) and two of her friends, while two others stay behind. Then some freaks come out of the woods and start killing people. Thatís about it.

The fundamental flaw among many with this film is the lack of tension connected to the land the protagonists find themselves trapped in. In "The Hills Have Eyes," you feel as though the deranged hillbillies stalking the family were birthed out of the desert sand and were shaped by their surroundings. In "Wolf Creek" you feel as though John Jarrattís character was a once good man who was perverted by years of solitude in the Australian out back. Here, I feel like the freaks of the Virginia back woods could have been freaks anywhere. They seemed somewhat inept to their surroundings, not knowing any secret paths and setting up minimal traps. The tension just wasnít there.

Then thereís the laundry list of other things wrong with the movie. The acting and writing are on par with a CineMax soft core porno, the gore isnít that good, you never get a good enough look at the freaks (Stan Winstonís work is wasted!), and Dushku plays a sniveling girl who canít take care of herself, whereas I like it when she plays the strong yet conflicted tough girl.

Overall, there just wasnít anything for me to like in "Wrong Turn." However, I havenít given up hope on the franchise quite yet, and canít wait to see the movies this turd spawned.

Video

"Wrong Turn" is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080p 24/fps picture mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression, and the picture quality was as disappointing as the movie itself. At its best, "Wrong Turn" looked like a DVD, and at its worst, I felt like I was watching my TV without my glasses on while blisteringly drunk. In summation, I was unimpressed. The colors were bland, and at times of high motion, the screen was a complete blur, and while I didnít think I missed anything at these moments, I hated wondering if I was missing out on any subtleties the movie may have had to offer.

Audio

"Wrong Turn" is presented in a English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, with an optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround French and Spanish tracks. The master audio track I listened to was superb, especially when contrasted with the lackluster picture. While certain elements of the movie kept me from really being invested in the filmís setting, the sound did its best to remind me that I was watching a film in a forest, with creaks and birds surrounding me. In one particular scene in which characters are maneuvering through a tree with a couple freaks shooting up at them with arrows, whenever the arrows hit the trees, the sound was so spot on that I would jump in my seat.
Optional subtitles are included in English and Spanish.

Extras

"Wrong Turn" includes a few extras in the form of an audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, and a theatrical trailer. They are detailed further below:

First up is the feature length audio commentary with director Rob Schmitd and lead actors Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku. This is the sort of commentary I find very interesting, in which the participants just mess around with each other, rather than taking a film like "Wrong Turn" too seriously. The three have a ton of fun, poking fun at each other and at the film. Sadly, there are many long stretches of silence here where no one can think of anything to say.

Next up are three deleted scenes, all of which are in poor quality accompanied with time-stamps at the bottom and top of the screen. The scenes themselves range from pointless to stupefying. They are:

- "Waterfall" running for 3 minutes and 3 seconds, in which Chris and Jessie watch the freaks pass by them while hiding behind a waterfall. Also, the two share an intimate moment.
- "Francine Kill" running for 31 seconds, in which we see what I am pretty sure is the exact scene that was already in the film. I could notice not a single difference.
- "Francine Kill Dailies" running for 3 minutes and 24 seconds, in which we watch Lindy Booth fake-murdered about a dozen times. Each one is identical, and I canít imagine why anyone would want to watch this.

Next up are 4 making-of featurettes, and while they offer a few interesting insights into the film, I overall found them tiresome and self pleasing. They are:

"Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn" featurette, which runs for 9 minutes and 25 seconds. Here, director Schmitd talks about why he wanted to make a horror movie, and actually delves into a little bit of theory behind why the genre is so successful. After that, we get the typical bonus feature segment, in which cast and crew talk about how scary the movie is, and how much it accomplishes what it set out to do.

"The Making of Wrong Turn" featurette, running for 4 minutes and 3 seconds. This is much less of a making-of and more of a re-cap of the filmís plot. The characters are examined, and the plot is set up. A waste of time.

"Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods" featurette, running for 3 minutes and 42 seconds. Here, Schmitd talks about how complicated of a character Jessie is, and how Dushku is so great at playing the independent girl, which seems ludicrous for two reasons: 1. Eliza Dushku is saved by Chris multiple times throughout the film, and 2. This featurette is called ďBabe in the WoodsĒ.

"Stan Winston" featurette, running for 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Now, I love Stan Winston, and appreciate everything he has done for pretty much all of my favorite movies, but Iím just bugged that heís getting some half-assed re-cap on "Wrong Turn," a movie I would never associate with him. Here, a laundry list of movies Winston was involved with are relayed, and for someone who is just getting to know of him this is a good starter, but for seasoned fans, we already knew that he worked on "Jurassic Park" (1993).

Lastly, a theatrical trailer for the film is included, and runs for 2 minutes and 14 seconds.

Overall

The Film: D- Video: D Audio: A- Extras: C Overall: C-

 


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