• Wrong Turn



    Released by: Fox
    Released on: 09/15/2009
    Director: Rob Schmidt
    Cast: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Kevin Zegers
    Year: 2003

    The Movie:

    Rob Schmidt’s 2003 Wrong Turn is essentially a throwback to the survivalist/backwoods horror films of the seventies and early eighties. It’s a fairly obvious and affectionate tribute that makes for a reasonably entertaining time killer, even if it’s ultimately pretty disposable – forgettable even.

    The film follows a man named Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington, enjoying some renewed appeal since his role on Showtime’s Dexter starting with the third season) is driving alone through the woods in the middle of nowhere trying his damndest to get to a job interview on time. Unfortunately for him, his plan gets wrecked when he comes across a massive traffic jam blocking up the highway and pretty much ruining his chances. Chris decides to find an alternate route and winds up taking some back roads through the more remote part of the West Virginia mountains where he drives right into another car stuck on the road with a flat tire.

    Through the accident, Chris meets five friends out hoping to enjoy a nice weekend of camping. Obviously things aren’t going as planned for them either. In hopes of salvaging the weekend, they decide to leave the horny couple Francine (Lindy Booth) and Evan (Kevin Segers) with the vehicles while Chris heads off with Jessie (Eliza Dushku), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui ) and her obnoxious fiancé Scott (Jeremy Sisto) in hope of finding someone to help them. As they make their way through the woods, Chris and the freshly single Jessie hit it off but their goo-goo eye making is soon put to an end when they stumble across a creepy cabin inhabited by a clan of inbred mutant mountain-dwelling killers with a penchant for collecting run down old cars and slaughtering unwelcome visitors. Cue the extended chase scene as the mutant hillbillies and pretty twenty-something cast members engage in a struggle of life and death with a few decent kill scenes covering up an otherwise pedestrian and predictable storyline.

    Well paced and featuring some admirably creative slaughter, Wrong Turn has a couple of tense moments and makes good use of its Northern Ontario locations ensuring that the heavily wooded Canadian forest standing in for West Virginia does make for an imposing locale for this all to play out against. The woods are thick, dark and scary and they seem like the perfect place for a family of kill crazy mutants to hang out in. Unfortunately the cast members have essentially zero personality. Each one is as charismatic as wet cardboard, and they’re basically all interchangeable. Dushku and Harrington are alright in the leads and do what they can with the material – both are decent enough actors in their own right - but they can only do so much.

    A few well timed jump scares, some nice camera work and an okay if a tad generic sounding score all help the picture. It isn’t painful to get through or anything and it’s entertaining enough, but you can’t help getting the feeling that this has all been done before and with considerably more flair and originality than it has here.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The 1.85.1 AVC encoded 1080p widescreen transfer on this Blu-ray release doesn't compete with more modern offerings on the format but for a film made over two decades ago Child's Play doesn't look bad at all here. There's a healthy coat of grain that might irk some as it makes a few shots look a bit noisy but there's no real print damage and there's a fair bit more detail here than there was on the recent standard definition release. Colors are bolder and more pronounced, you’ll really notice this in the woods as the greens are just fresher and more natural looking, and there are no problems with any mpeg compression artifacts or macroblocking. Skin tones look good, black levels are decent as is shadow detail, and overall Fox/MGM has done a pretty nice job here. This isn’t reference quality, as it keeps the film’s grimy looking aesthetic intact, but it’s not a bad effort at all.

    The primary mix is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 mix though alternate tracks are provided in Spanish and French 5.1 Surround Sound with subtitles available in English SDH and Spanish. Again, this is a noticeable improvement over the standard definition release. The DTS-HD mix opens up the audio a bit and fills the room quite nicely. This isn't a reference quality surround mix but it's a nice one that uses the rears to build atmosphere and help out in the jump scares department. The lower front end is strong enough to matter while the properly balanced levels ensure that the dialogue is always easy to understand and that the sound effects and the score carry enough punch.

    Rob Schmidt provides a commentary track where he’s joined by cast members Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku. It’s not a bad track and you definitely get the impression that all involved had their hearts in the right places. It covers pretty much all the standard bases – writing, script changes, gore effects, stunts, and shooting out in the woods of Ontario, Canada. The three more or less stay on topic and have a good sense of humor about themselves but this track won’t likely change your opinion on the quality of the movie itself.

    From there we get a quartet of featurettes starting with The Making Of Wrong Turn, which is your basic EPK style bit where cast and crew talk about how rad it was to work together on such a great movie. Eliza Dushku: Babe In The Woods shows us what a trooper the film’s female lead was and what a good sport she was about some of the tougher physically taxing parts her role required, while Stan Winston gets his time in the spotlight in the featurette named after him that explores some of the effects work he conjured up for the picture. The fourth and final featurette, Fresh Meat: The Wounds Of Wrong Trun sheds some light on the gore effects.

    Rounding out the extras are a handful of mediocre deleted scenes, the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter stops.

    Overall:
    A mediocre slasher at best, Wrong Turn receives a pretty decent Blu-ray offering from Fox.