Eye For Film >> Movies >> Wrong Turn (2003) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Ever since Deliverance, the lure of the wild has lost its attraction. Better stay at home, guys, because hillbillies aren't funny any more and, after Blair Witch, going out into the woods is reminiscent of those nightmares in which dark things lurk in the shadow of trees.
Wrong Turn comes under the category, Schlock Horror. Everything is set up. The formulaic script has a group of young people, lost in a forest in West Virginia, where the locals look like they've been eating live squirrel for generations. Slowly, one by one, they are picked off by The Elephant Man's American cousins, who enjoyed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre so much, they bought the franchise.
What makes the difference is the refusal of the filmmakers to trivialise the situation, or nudge the audience with campy asides, such as "We know how silly all this looks, but let's be nasty, anyway." Everything, from the performances of Norman Harrington, as a serious-minded med graduate, and Eliza Dushku, as an unromantic coed suffering the aftershock of being dumped by her boyfriend, to the congenital abnormalities of the cannibalistic killers, is treated with care and respect.
Unlike the overhyped Dreamcatcher, another woody scarefest, Wrong Turn remains true to itself and, although it is possible to pick holes in the story afterwards, at the time it feels only too real.
Nature is neither cruel, nor moralistic, and if you live close to it, the concept of good and evil merges into one, so that the death of an intruder is either something for the pot, or the defence of territory. The family of retards that live in a sprawling barn-like shack, surrounded by the corpses of their victims' vehicles, has exceptional talents, such as archery and tracking skills. They may not be able to communicate with words, being animalistic in more ways than one, but their instinct and strength is truly bestial. Also, they can drive.
The next time you fill a backpack with safety aids from the hiker's emporium, remember that in West Virginia they will be useless. In the woods, you are prey. Be vigilant.Reviewed on: 26 Jun 2003