(Release Date: May 30, 2003)
I mean, seriously, ripping off TCM is so prevalent now, it's pretty much expected! I'm not even sure it's considered plagiarism anymore... actually, I think it's a subgenre all its own. What makes this one different? The character names, cast and some pieces of dialogue. Oh, and one more thing... the presence of Stan Winston as not only special make-up and effects boss man, but actually as "PRODUCER"!
THE Stan Winston reported that he read the script and considered it one of the scariest things he's ever read, and simply had to make this movie. Okay... so... did he mean the Wrong Turn script (written by Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever scribe Alan B. McElroy) or did he mean the script to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then, maybe the script to The Hills Have Eyes, then he simply had to make a movie like that?
But I kid, Stan. Stan Rules.
Wrong Turn might have succeeded as a really scary thriller if it hadn't been done before, so many times, and by so many people. As it stands, I was able to predict virtually every scene before it popped up. The cast, however, does a good job with what they have in this repeated plot. Scott (Jeremy Sisto) and his hot fiancee Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui) join with Evan (Kevin Zegers) and his even hotter girlfriend Francine (Lindy Booth) to take the hottest one of them all, Jessie (Eliza Dushku... WHOA!), on a road trip to show her a good time after being dumped by her (clearly either gay or blind) boyfriend. Luckily she's soon to meet up with a handsome young stranger (Desmond Harrington's Chris Flynn) who rear ends her... um, wait I mean, he rear ends her car. But not before Jessie and the rest of the mystery machine crew fall victim to a hillbilly-hidden improvised spike strip. Need I say that all six of them are suddenly in all kinds of trouble? Might I add... you don't know the half of it!
Oh, wait... if you've seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, you probably do know the half of it! And then some. DAMN! The truth is, this movie is incredibly derivative... but it's fun and the actors do succeed in causing the audience to care and root for them. The "Actors"... not the "Characters"! The characters are all complete idiots. These guys are implausibly idiotic to a degree usually reserved for Talk Radio, Hercules movies and Soft Core Porn dialogue. Like in every one of these plot share resale scams, they go hunting for a phone and come across the grandmere of all crappy-ass cabins in the woods. In spite of its bombed out, Century NEGATIVE Twenty-One, stink pot nature, they've got all kinds of cool sunglasses, car keys with remote entry devices on the chains, bags of modern clothes... could it be any more obvious? Ah? Did I mention the long string of cars in the front yard ranging from the Model T to the modern Minivan? But all we get out of these geese is something along the lines of "Hmmm... that's peculiar!"
Only Stan Winston's effects could make the rest scary. Soon, the hicks hit home and the blood starts flying like Diet Coke with Mentos shoved in the bottle. You won't be feeling fresh OR full of life when the series of death and dismemberment scenes plod on. Only the genius of Stan Winston and his hand-picked Makeup Effects Supervisor, Shane Mahan could keep this interesting. The special effects are fantastic and these three Hank-lovin' cannibal sickos (played by Julian Richings, Garry Robbins and Ted Clark) manage to look like a cross between Eddie, the Iron Maiden mascot, some morlocks and Leatherface himself.
But man, oh, man, was this ever a movie where far too obvious opportunities were missed by each character as they run from the nasties. Look, I get the idea that if it's too easy the movie ends after twenty minutes. Director Rob Schmidt had to pad this thing out to 84 minutes with something, right? The problem is, we're not given anything really believable to go with. It's basically domino after domino and Wrong Turn devolves into a complete no-brainer, requiring a total shut down of the suspension of disbelief mechanism to enjoy it.
But enjoy it, I did. Eliza Dushku is always fun to watch and is incredibly beautiful here. Booth and Chriqui are likewise yummier than pale ale! Sadly, there's no nudity, so note that before renting or buying. There are some good frights and what would qualify as classic suspense if the film wasn't so predictable. There is also a pretty cool tree-branch chase sequence that gives us one of the best death sequences in the film. It would all be a complete waste without the talents of Stan Winston and his studio. That makes me wonder... what might Stan make producing a completely original flick? The man has been in the business for over 30 years and Wrong Turn was the first movie he's produced for the big screen. I'm still eager to see what he comes up with next, kids.
Two and One Half Stars out of Five for the beautifully effected and well acted, but horribly derivative Wrong Turn. Yeah, Stan has most definitely made a wrong turn with this one... but it was right enough to spawn a sequel... and dudes, with a resume like Stan Winston's, even if this film completely sucked (and it doesn't) he'd be made-up for life! Time for me to jet. The Summer of Horror is almost over and I've got an ass load of reviews still to write. Every bit of me knows I should pop in a true classic, but I'm thinking I need to check out Wrong Turn again. Time to watch Eliza jiggling through the woods... maybe in slow motion this time... reverse... ah... yeah, momma! Wrong Turn or not, it feels so right! Yeah, I know, I'm a broken record too. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, beer, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Boobs, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, nudity, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, sex, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Lesbians, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Next Reel!
Sorry, folks, this is me.
I just saw Henkel and Hooper...
They both want their checks!
Only Hooper deserves one though!
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