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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.88%
Just Average: 13.78%
Pretty Crappy: 13.27%
Sucks: 19.39%

9 reviews, 142 user ratings

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Wrong Turn
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by Jack Sommersby

"Slight but Inventively Directed Horror Flick is Fun Stuff"
4 stars

The screenplay isn't anything great, but kinetic, assured direction by Rob Schmidt results in some very good moments.

Directed with panache by Rob Schmidt, Wrong Turn is a fast-moving horror film that never lets up once in its appropriately brief eighty-five-minute running time. The setting is the Greenbreirer backwoods of West Virginia, where an array of vacationing travelers have been meeting the most untimely of demises over the years. The film opens with a fine aerial view of the area, and then zeroes in on a rock-climbing couple, one of whom is already at the top and another midway there; when the young man at the top is viciously slaughtered by an unseen foe, his girlfriend panics, releases herself fom her line, falls to the ground, and is then quickly offed in an equally gruesome manner. The opening credits then give us all the information needed through displays of newspaper cuttings, with the headings "Mountain Men Legend" and "Genetic Mutation". Suffice to say, we get the point: These are no ordinary country bumpkins doing the nasty here. We're then introduced to the hero, Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington), a medical student traveling to Raleigh, North Carolina for a vital appointment; when a jack-knifed eighteen-wheeler causes a chemical spill, thus severely congesting traffic, Chris detours through the backwoods. Of course, being that the lead actor always needs co-stars to tag along, Chris unwisely opts to stare through his rear-view mirror at a dead deer on the road, resulting in his rear-ending a Land Rover with his vintage Mustang. Its passengers -- consisting of moody Jessie Burlingame (Eliza Dushku), the perky Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), her worrisome fiancee Scott (Jeremy Sisto), and horny couple Francine and Evan (Lindy Booth, Kevin Zegers) -- are unhurt.

With both vehicles inoperable, their only viable option is locating a telephone (Chris' cellular can't get a signal), and so they set off walking down the desolate Bear Mountain Road -- that is, except the horny couple, who stay behind, start indulging in some fellatio, and solidify an unwritten rule of horror films that the ones who choose to play around get slain within a few minutes after orgasm. And it doesn't take a genius to surmise which one of the remaining girls will serve as the heroine -- though both wear tank tops, Carly's bears cleavage and nipple pokies, so we know her number will be up rather than Jessie's. (Besides, Dushku, who plays Jessie, receives second billing.) Expecting originality or a witty spin on horror conventions would probably be foolish coming from a screenwriter like Alan B. McElroy, penner of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever -- the characters are mostly nondescript, and the dialogue ("This looks like the garage sale from Hell.") is pure kitty litter -- but some of the situations he's concocted aren't bad, and even a little neat. When Chris and Jessie discover jars of human organs in a refrigerator in a deserted home, it's too Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ish to induce much terror; but, a few moments later, when they're forced to hide under a bed when the house's inhabitants show up (who are man-like but hideously deformed) and Francine's corpse is dumped on the ground, where her blood starts flowing toward them, you know you're witnessing the kind of nerve-jangling moment Hitchcock would have approved of. And I liked the fact that no attempt is made to explain the background of the villains. They're nasty, violent, and lethal -- what more need we know in an undemanding piece of cinematic horror such as this?

For every cliche (not finishing off one of the villains with a head shot just so it can hastily return) and nagging flaw (if barb wire was stretched across the road as a trap to disable the Land Rover, why didn't the villains just kill everybody then?), there's the energy and assuredness of the direction to keep our attention focused on the immediacy of the hair-raising situations rather than the side notes that don't heavily handicap things as much as they reassure us we're in a genre where cliches can be warming and welcoming if presented right, as they are here. The last time Movieland teenagers ventured off into a back-woods nightmare, it was in Victor Silva's unctuous Jeepers Creepers, which strained far too hard at coming off as unconventional and wound up relying on more conventional means than Silva would probably care to admit to -- it had the attitude of originality but not enough fleshed-out ideas for an organic, fully realized original entertainment. Luckily, Wrong Turn director Schmidt doesn't demonstrate a snide air of superiority to this genre: he seems to welcome the loose writing, which allows him to forgo any semblances of subtext and deliver on the action sequences, most of which are dazzlingly executed. The standout is easily the one where the humans climb up a tall forest watch post, just to see the axe- and arrow-wielding mutants following up after them; their dropping some twenty-feet below to a tree top; and then having to take cover and eventually do battle on some of the branches. The action has a swank precision to it, yet it's also admirable for being over-the-top and unpredictable -- you don't always have a clear-cut idea of how a sequence is going to conclude itself, which adds even more fun to the proceedings.

While I'm not apt to remember either the hero or heroine in a couple of days (both actors are passable but not particularly personable), and being that the villains are of the purely chop-and-dice variety they're unlikely to be memorable enough to warrant a front-cover spread on Fangoria magazine (though f/x whiz Stan Winston's work is perfectly fine), I'll likely have a fond rememberance of any number of the film's imaginative moments and the delicious handling that makes them sing and scream with the "joy of making cinema". You can't exactly applaud the villains' opting to keep the heroine bound and gagged near the end just so the hero can come to save her and the day, but when the hero finds himself in a prickly situation where he's not able to release his grasp on a rusty door coil (to the point of his hand bleeding) without it alerting the villains to their presence inside, you know you're witnessing an attention to detail that's both horrific and hilarious. Wrong Turn lacks atmosphere and an interesting structure (not to mention some good old-fashioned gratuitous nudity), but within these confines director Rob Schmidt (whose work here is amazingly assured given his paltry resume), editor Michael R. Miller (his cutting is adroit but never harried), and supervising sound editor Keith Elliott (the mixture of music punctuating the scene transitions is beautifully done) manage to work some fairly impressive wonders with such limited material. I can't recommend the film as an exercise in classic horror because its tendency to telegraph its scares dissipates its potency, but as an undemanding, suspenseful good time that'll keep you tantalized from first scene to last, it's more than worthy of the price of a matinee showing.

It's the film "Jeepers Creepers" tried and failed to be.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7721&reviewer=327
originally posted: 05/31/03 16:49:43
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell tense & grisly 3 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison Putrid attempt at horror. 1 stars
10/17/10 AlecM boooringgggg, watch the films it imitates instead. (TCM, deliverance, hills have eyes) 2 stars
2/05/10 brian Pathetic, insulting, cliched to the max, ignorant, ugly, hateful movie. 1 stars
7/27/08 Shelli Thought is was well done...enjoyed it a lot 4 stars
5/02/08 d satrana not that bad! if you're really bored n want to watch a movie.. this serves the purpose 4 stars
4/27/08 art IT SURE WAS A WRONG TURN 1 stars
7/24/07 taro characers are so unlikable, I wanted them to die. 1 stars
2/16/07 Ruby Saw it in a bar- was a captive audience wish i had that time back. 1 stars
12/05/06 Shamine Wright it a very cool movie 5 stars
12/02/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 5 stars
11/02/06 Hauzy might have been a wrong turn, but everything about this movie was right 5 stars
10/29/06 AJ Muller a solid slasher flick that totally earns its right to exist 3 stars
10/23/06 Seth Gunari ya way better than jeepers creepers 5 stars
10/18/06 katie trotman the best film in the world go to see so goood 5 stars
9/08/06 Sully I'd like to eat Dushku...does that make me an inbred W. Virg. cannibal....? 5 stars
7/30/06 Agent Sands Did what Cabin Fever didn't do right, but still didn't do it that well. 3 stars
7/29/06 Shaun Wallner this was pretty good 4 stars
6/27/06 Evil Wolfie Horrible and a waste of time 1 stars
6/24/06 MP Bartley Tick off the cliches one by one people... 2 stars
6/15/06 Michele fun and a little creepy 4 stars
6/07/06 Lisa Trees and nasty weapons don't mix!!! 5 stars
5/15/06 Amanda It scared the crap out of me. And I'm from Kentucky! ha ha 4 stars
4/11/06 Simon-ann Poombuh Totally vivacious! te critics who belittled this film are absolutely retarded. If you all 4 stars
1/18/06 Rachel Blevins One of the best movies ever !!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/22/05 Booby The sequel is going to be Called Wrong Turn Back 5 stars
10/26/05 chris not bad and not good either 3 stars
9/25/05 Priscilla Postlethwaite I sure hope John Denver went to a different part of Heaven than this almost is! 4 stars
8/24/05 Eden It's watchable but you've seen it a million times before 2 stars
7/29/05 mzukisi dwenene can you tell me about that three men in the forest eat human called cannibals 3 stars
4/25/05 E-FUNK If you enjoy cannibal-mutant-muppets grab-assing WB rejects, grab a spoon! 1 stars
12/05/04 K. Sear Ridiculous, commerical attempt to modernize "The Hills Have Eyes". 1 stars
12/04/04 Jawil Osbam Grrrrr! My luck would be to end up in the part of Heaven that this almost is. 4 stars
10/14/04 Don Eckert Good Effort with a quick pace. Not a classic but not bad either. 4 stars
9/01/04 Josh Standlee It rocks, and even thoug it makes me think of my ex-girlfriend, I still love it! 5 stars
8/23/04 American Slasher Goddess Nice, stylish horror flick with some good gore 4 stars
8/20/04 McGraw Instantly forgotten P.O.S horror schlock. LAME-ASS. 1 stars
7/03/04 True Review i thought this movie would suck like Cabin Fever but its way better, an entertaining horror 4 stars
6/23/04 Grady Davis It made no indication as to if the rednecks were monster, though they don't seem to die. 3 stars
6/03/04 i'm the director of the film what, oh WHAT was I thinking! Someone kill me for making such stupid, repetitive trash. 1 stars
5/23/04 Blakers a great film 5 stars
4/20/04 D77Spoony Intense! Ignore the critics until you've seen it! 5 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt An excellent, intense, ride! One of the best horror films of its kind in awhile! 5 stars
4/15/04 Chawna M Movie was great....really scary...worth the watch!! 5 stars
4/10/04 valerie hart a great horror movie by far the best one this year!!! 5 stars
3/29/04 American Slasher Goddess Very well done,much better then the Chainsaw remake. 4 stars
3/20/04 Kayla nice nice movie.. desmond harrington is pretty hot.. id say!! 5 stars
3/18/04 Nancy Loved the movie; the 3 guys gave me nightmares. I'll drive down a dirt road alone again! 4 stars
3/16/04 Eliza Dushka I loved Making that movie, My Cousin had to dress up as one of the Canniballs. I laughed! 5 stars
3/08/04 Frank Miller Kicks ass and takes names... 5 stars
3/07/04 Zach G. A FUN movie. The cannibals were done by the same guy from Jurassic Park! 5 stars
3/01/04 Michael Stjames There are obviously a lot of stupid people out there that think they are credible critics. 5 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge 1 star less than "sucks". Review above acurate. Enjoy watching screamy girls killed. Joy. 2 stars
2/21/04 LIAM JACKSON the character of 'three-finger' scared the shite out of me.such a loon. 5 stars
2/12/04 Kai Silly me, I actually thought that this movie might be decent. 1 stars
2/04/04 LIAM JACKSON good film. this is one reason why i never visit the south 4 stars
2/02/04 ghost nothing special 3 stars
12/30/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/26/03 Sara Really Good!!! 5 stars
12/22/03 jeremiah martin I loved it was so awsome 5 stars
12/12/03 Chris A great horror movie! 4 stars
12/12/03 Karie I loved it!!! 5 stars
12/11/03 The killer Someone convinced me this was a true story, luckily later i found out it wasn't 5 stars
12/11/03 Leather_FAce Kicks ass! 5 stars
12/11/03 Captain Spaulding awesome backwoods splatter flick!! 5 stars
12/11/03 Charlie and the Chocolate FActory Great movie! 5 stars
12/09/03 tim great! 5 stars
12/09/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/08/03 Samuel One of the best horror films this Decade!! 5 stars
12/01/03 matt much better than texas chainsaw remake! 3 stars
11/22/03 Sharon i liked it..much better than that shit house of 1000 corpses 5 stars
11/17/03 he a great film 5 stars
11/15/03 Alice Good acting,indeed no original story, but never boring!I liked it. 5 stars
10/31/03 cinkcool your girlfriend is fucking dumb just like you! 1 stars
10/24/03 NBCraftsman Best special effect: Elizas' glaring white un-stained tank top... 2 stars
10/24/03 Boris Mind-numbingly average 3 stars
10/23/03 Kae Wasn't that great, Eliza Dushku was cool though, but the movie was NOT! 2 stars
10/21/03 Albie Better than most cheezy slasher flix...What should anyone expect from one of these? 3 stars
10/16/03 Josh Standlee Loved it, so did my girlfriend! 5 stars
10/14/03 culprit64 who ever thought this movie was awesome needs some serious pyschological help... 2 stars
10/14/03 Redpajammas THIS MOVIE WAS GREAT!!!!! 5 stars
10/12/03 jITJIT sKEPHZUKKS Eliza Dushku finally shows talent, on eve of being stolen off bg scren by damned TV series! 4 stars
10/06/03 Samuel Justus Wrong Turn, House of 1000 Corpses, Cabin Fever, Cant wait for the Texas Chainsaw re-make!! 5 stars
10/06/03 Erik Van Sant Cannibal-mutant-muppets manage to be as scary as a Fraggle Rock episode. Unbelievably bad. 1 stars
9/24/03 Ingo Starts no so bad, but then it get's boring and badly acted. 2 stars
9/02/03 here THE BEST OF THE BEST 5 stars
8/24/03 stephen joyce it was awesome and would definitely watch it again 5 stars
8/17/03 h the best film 5 stars
8/15/03 The Velcro Warlock Taut thriller. But who the fuck are these Neanderthaloid villains? 4 stars
8/01/03 Dave M Whats wrong with you people ? A true classic. Keep givin good movies shit reviews as u do. 5 stars
7/30/03 aiken drum Obsenly stupid in parts, but its fun to watch them all die. 3 stars
7/30/03 nr GREAT I LOVED IT 5 stars
7/27/03 Collin You Want A Truly Scary Horror Movie Rent Wes Craven's New Nightmare Don't Wast Time On This 1 stars
7/25/03 Gary Fantastic 5 stars
7/17/03 Hottie great 5 stars
7/12/03 Joe GREAT 5 stars
7/10/03 nr GREAT I LOVED IT 5 stars
7/10/03 Gary A superb classic. 5 stars
7/08/03 Phil Of course this film isn't going to be anything we haven't seen before, but it's still great 5 stars
7/07/03 nr great i loved it 5 stars
7/07/03 Young critic Very poor movie. High cheese factor 1 stars
6/27/03 Giddy COOL 5 stars
6/26/03 john allen I respectfully disagree with your review. tense and well paced 5 stars
6/24/03 Chris It's awesome 5 stars
6/23/03 steve scary, suspenseful, but also a little too predictable 4 stars
6/21/03 Don Fast paced and suspenseful. Low budget and attitude make for a decent horror flick. 4 stars
6/20/03 tiffany the movie is awesome espicialy eliza who has the guts to show her real color! 5 stars
6/19/03 Jerry Stop insulting the film!!! 5 stars
6/18/03 Sauce Waste of time. It wasn't even scary. 1 stars
6/18/03 Chris GRREAT 5 stars
6/16/03 he great film scary 5 stars
6/15/03 caramel jenkins nice prrtty scary 5 stars
6/13/03 Jerry Really scary 5 stars
6/12/03 stud great film scary 5 stars
6/11/03 Jeff Tuttle Worth seeing. Semi-scary and humorous. 4 stars
6/10/03 Brannie Herez Brannie, This movie looks sooo bad that i wont even bother to pay for movie tickets. 1 stars
6/10/03 Hottie I thought this was a GREAT movie and the actors did great also! 5 stars
6/10/03 cheebs! Liked it so much the first time that I went again. :) 4 stars
6/09/03 Obi Wan Not too bad...movie knows what is it and doesn't try too hard 3 stars
6/08/03 Pam Rather a run-of-the-mill slasher film that reminded me of Jason Vorhees meets Deliverance. 3 stars
6/08/03 Kaylyn I saw the film last night and happened to like it very much. I suggest seeing it. 4 stars
6/08/03 Colin This Makes The Friday The 13th Series Look Like Shakesphere 1 stars
6/07/03 heeee great 5 stars
6/07/03 Mini-me ***** 5 stars
6/06/03 MEEE great 5 stars
6/06/03 .Choadushouse. The tree part was good. This is nothing like SCREAM. It's a decent horror movie... 3 stars
6/05/03 Horror films get lame Scream was an ok film, but its spawn is just awful. All these gore films look alike. 1 stars
6/05/03 Amy It was better than I expected. (I always keep my expectations low.) 3 stars
6/05/03 Erik Van Sant Cannibal-Mutant-Muppets aren't scary...Desmond Harrington's acting is. This movie blows. 1 stars
6/05/03 Hanky JESUS CHRIST!! Talk about a good film 5 stars
6/04/03 Nick Schneider If you're so tired of the horror genre, why keep going? 4 stars
6/03/03 Jack Bourbon Hee hee hee hee haw!!! Pretty amusing stuff. Great tree sequence. 4 stars
6/03/03 mee gre 5 stars
6/03/03 nik jesus christ on a vespa, did this blow! 1 stars
6/03/03 amazing scary 5 stars
5/31/03 Steven RIP-OFF of SO many better movies. Laughably bad and not the least bit terrifying. LAME 1 stars
5/31/03 Joseph Barale Better than Jeepers Creepers 5 stars
5/30/03 Worse Than You! WORST...MOVIE...EVER 1 stars
5/30/03 Meyeson It's like a dream come true episode of ROAD RULES, hooray for the cannibals! 4 stars
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  30-May-2003 (R)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2003



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