Wrong Turn Review

Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to an interview. Headed for North Carolina in his Mustang convertible and short on time, he loses patience when a chemical spill causes a huge backup in traffic. He makes a U-Turn, heads back the way he came and after looking at a map, opts to take a shortcut through the backroads of West Virginia. He avoids the traffic, but he has just made the biggest mistake of his life.


Jessie (Eliza Dushku), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Scott (Jeremy Sisto), Evan (Kevin Zegers) and Francine (Lindy Booth), are headed for the great outdoors to camp and help Jessie get over her recent relationship break-up. Traveling in their Range Rover on the same backroad as Chris, they run over a strip of barbed wire which flattens their tires. Unsure of what to do next, they stand by in shock as Chris, speeding down the road and distracted by roadkill, rear-ends their vehicle with his Mustang. The group of five stranded travelers now becomes six. Evan and Francine volunteer to stay with the damaged vehicles, and the remaining four set off in the woods in search of help. They come to the first house they see - a cabin inhabited by three horrifically-deformed, inbred hillbillies who also happen to be cannibals... pissed-off and very hungry cannibals.

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Director Rob Schmidt (Saturn, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia), teamed up with writer Alan B. McElroy (Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers) to try their hand at the Hillbilly Cannibal sub-genre and the result is a fairly entertaining 89 minutes. Cinematographer John S. Bartley makes great use of the Canadian locations (which substituted for the hills of West Virginia), and the actors (especially Dushku and Harrington) take the film seriously and do a wonderful job, but the film's biggest strength is the special effects and make-up from film legend Stan Winston. He wanted to give a jump-start to a genre that was severely lacking in recent good films and his Wrong Turn creations (The detail on the Hillbillies' deformaties and the 'human souvenirs' found in the house are excellent) manage to be both realistic yet creepy enough to satisfy the most discriminating gore hounds. The gore is most definitely there, in fact it was rumoured that the MPAA rejected three different versions of the film, with each one being deemed "too intense". This is definitely not a film for the whole family.

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Wrong Turn is a slick little horror film that never pretends to be anything other than what it is: a clever combination of the more chilling bits from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and the infamous X-Files episode Home. If you are a fan of this horror sub-genre and don't mind seeing angst-ridden, high, whiny and horny young people pursued by The Hillbillies from Hell, then Wrong Turn is for you. It is a scarily fun ride, with good acting, great direction, some genuinely jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and the wonderful special effects and make-up from Stan Winston... though you might want to think twice about any future roadtrips and make sure you stay until the end credits.

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out of 10

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