I love the Wrong Turn movies. As I see it, they continue a long tradition of stalk-and-slash movies that was really brought to the fore with the classic ‘The Hills Have Eyes’, which basically created the ‘Mutant Hicks chasing accidental victims in the middle of nowhere’ genre (you could also argue the same about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I feel Wes Craven’s original kicked it off properly). Wrong Turn is very much in the vein of those films, and this first one is the best of the three by far.
Featuring a starring turn from former Buffy The Vampire Slayer badass Eliza Dushku (who played the character of Faith in that massively popular series), the first Wrong Turn movie centres on six characters trapped in the woods of West Virginia, who must face off against mutated, inbred cannibals. Fun fun fun!
For all of its modern-day camera tricks, contemporary horror fx and cutting edge soundtrack, Wrong Turn is very much a child of the 1970s horror boom.
The characters aren’t all that well written, but they’re decent enough to care about most of them, and definitely Dushku’s Jessie character, who must become a reluctant badass in order to try and stay alive alongside the other characters.
For a film with such a basic premise, Wrong Turn is really well-shot and tightly directed by Rob Schmidt. The mutated hicks are cheesy but entertaining as the monstrous bad guys of the piece, and it does recreate the feeling of an old-school exploitation flick while never turning into a pastiche of the genre.
It was inevitable that a film with such a concise premise would spawn a coupe of cheap-ass sequels, but those cheapies are also fun in their own way. This first film is by far the best of the bunch, and Dushku is in full-on Faith mode as she yells and battles her way towards the end credits. Does she survive, or does her character take one wring turn too many? Watch it and find out, but don’t expect art. Expect entertainment. Messy entertainment.