Wrong Turn (2003)
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2003)
Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead (2009)
Wrong Turn 4 (TBA)
A pair of rock climbing college students are murdered by an unseen force. Scene cut. Chris Flynn is a medical student. He got stuck in traffic on his way to a job interview, so he just turned around and went to a gas station to look for an alternate route. And so began the terrifying next twenty-four hours for six people on the run from a group of cannibalistic mountain men disfigured by generations of inbreeding. Note here: only men are ever seen, how did they breed?
The Wrong Turn movies are a vaguely but inconsistently linked horror series. "Three Finger" is a recurring character who interrupts the end credits of the original movie to implicitly kill the sheriff who comes out to investigate the cannibals' destroyed cabin. I quite enjoyed Wrong Turn, despite watching it with an almost sociopathic stance. I sat there waiting for someone to appear at the window of the watch-tower, and waiting. Wrong Turn contains few surprises, but that doesn't make it a bad horror flick, nor does it keep the goose bumps off your skin. The gore shown is perhaps not quite as explicit as it could have been, but I think there is sufficient to keep let it go free to air TV. Likewise, the implied sex is never actually seen. Well handled. The plot is executed like a well-oiled machine, and characters are carefully developed throughout. This being a horror movie, there is of course special effects. How were they done? Above average. In fact I'd go so far as to say really well. The bodies looked like bodies, the blood looked like blood, the disfigured mountain men looked like disfigured mountain men. What more could you want? Well, more explicit gore perhaps, but then you'd have to rate it R instead of MA. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood when watching Wrong Turn, but I walked away with a mostly "meh" reaction, a reaction that quickly became more positive as I watched the rest of the series.
Following the success of Wrong Turn, producer Erik Feig decided to make a sequel. And so a group of reality show contestants find themselves taking the same wrong turn as predecessing protagonist Chris Flynn. Dead End stars none of the same cast as Wrong Turn, nor the same director or crew. It does however, feature both male and female cannibals. (At last they can breed!) It also features sex. No, I mean actual sex, not "Ok, they're having sex but you don't need to see it" like in the last one. Now that they were already showing us some tits, they might as well show us some more gore. And so they did. ...And so Dead End became R-rated. Dead End didn't get quite as good a soundtrack as Wrong Turn, nor did the producers seem to have much idea what characters were supposed to be in the sequel. Oh well, they tried. And they tried hard enough that I think Dead End is well worth a watch too.
Four more college students' rafting trip goes radically awry when Three Finger, played by yet another actor, returns with his family to consume them in Left For Dead. The old, burned watch tower and a number of other props feature in this, the third installment of Wrong Turn. Any of the Wrong Turns can be watched independently of the others without you being left wondering what is going on. This is largely because they are, for the most part, independent of each other. This isn't like waiting to see if Batman got killed in that plane crash last week, you just know Three Finger somehow survived for another movie. Left For Dead contains no sex, but possibly even more gore than Dead End, and is again R-rated. The producers of Left For Dead seem to have run out of ideas after two movies. Oh wait, it wasn't the same producers. Still, I'm not entirely sure what they're trying to achieve here. We've seen it all before, and the climax seems to be getting a bit boring now.
Not to be put off by this, shooting for Wrong Turn 4 has just begun in Canada under the direction of Declan O'Brien from Left For Dead. No further details are available yet, but we'll have to wait and see if it's as good as the predecessors. Let's hope it's as good as the first one.