Wrong Turn appears to be your stock-standard horror which takes a group of young twenty-somethings into a remote rural part of the US for some hiking fun. Although none of it is very fun and absolutely no good times are had.
As you might imagine, during the hiking trip, on the Appalachian trail, one of the characters suggest they take a different route to see some historical stuff. A wrong turn, you say? Whatever could go wrong! Then, with a huge tree log hurtling towards them, in classic 1990s teen slasher style they get knocked off one by one by something (or someone) lurking in the woods.
This act of the film arc is easily appreciated. The characters are unlikeable and are a tick-a-box in terms of diversity (we have the male same-sex couple, a black man in a relationship with a white woman – Jen Shaw (Charlotte Vega) – our single white female survivor, and so on and so forth). So, your body will be ready to see them get completely obliterated by all the booby-traps placed across this dense forest scene.
If you like a bit of gruesomeness, you will not be disappointed with this one. There are a lot of skulls that get absolutely annihilated. As expected, everyone in the group is terribly upset about the situation they have put themselves in and the F-word gets thrown around like confetti at a wedding.
But then on top of this multi-tiered wedding cake of a disaster, there is an overarching storyline of Jen’s dad, Scott (Matthew Modine) desperately searching for his daughter who is no longer texting or calling him every day. He leaves it for about two weeks until it he decides it is time to take it onto himself to go looking for her.
His new partner seems blasé about the whole thing and is extremely focused on her own grown biological sons who sit like lifeless bodies in the kitchen while the parents discuss what appears to be serious stuff.
On the topic of blasé, all the characters in the film just accept what is happening around them. It may be because it is somewhat instinctual when you go into survival-mode but I for one would be a little bit more upset if I saw my romantic partner impaled on a bunch of well-placed sharpened pieces of wood crying out for help. Instead, they are left to suffer and die because – what other option do they have?
When you, the film viewer, have just settled into the established slasher genre, and are ready for this to end, the narrative provides more insight into the folks that lurk in the woods and takes… another wrong turn. ‘The Foundation’ are the name of the group who have created their own little self-contained village in this territory and are the ones seemingly attacking the group. And here we are left with the remainder of this hodgepodge going into another direction that becomes weird and uncomfortable.
Wrong Turn tries to be a lot of things but ends up being confusing. The film will entertain if you are looking for cheap thrills but unfortunately delivers no substance at the end of the road.
TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Wrong Turn is in cinemas now.