Fox’s Wrong Turn is presented in a nicely done, anamorphically enhanced, widescreen transfer in the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Fox also has a fullframe transfer of the film on the flip side of the disc for folks that don’t know any better, but for the purposes of my review, I only viewed the widescreen version.
As with most Fox releases, the transfer is nothing short of immaculate and Wrong Turn exhibits all the positive aspects of a recent theatrical release from a major studio. The print is in pristine condition and is free of any major flaws or errors which allowed the image to remain tight and detailed throughout. Grain was rarely an issue in the film and detail remained exceptional at all times. There were a few moments where the image was more gritty than others, but it seemed to be intentional in most areas. Colors were spot-on and properly saturated at all times and everything from the mangled and bloody flesh on the victims to the lush and bold hues featured in the back woods of Virginia looked great. Smearing and bleeding were never an issue in Fox’s transfer and all of the colors and hues received excellent reproduction from the studio.
Flaws were relatively minor, as some slight grain was noted in some of the darker scenes, as well as a flake or two noted early on. Edge enhancement and haloing were kept at bay and Wrong Turn was surprisingly free of flaws from beginning to end. In the end however, it’s just another day at the office for the crew at Fox. The Wrong Turn DVD looks great and those familiar with other releases from the studio surely won’t be surprised.
The film receives a nicely authored Dolby Digital 5.1 audio transfer and it sounds pretty slick. Wrong Turn was the recipient of a rather aggressive – and quite impressive – mix that really surprised me as I was watching it. Definitely better than any other horror film I’ve spun through my player in quite some time, Wrong Turn, with a little help from Fox, gets a lot of things right.
There is great stereo separation and panning heard in the front channels, as you can clearly discern things taking place specifically in each channel. The film exhibited excellent frequency response throughout all of the channels and there wasn’t a time noted in the film where the track didn’t come across as sounding very natural and pleasantly reactive. The plentiful array of effects used in the film was constantly receiving support from the rears, as well as the LFE, and Wrong Turn did it right when it came to making effective use of all the speakers included in your surround setup. The back woods of West Virginia provide many enveloping effects in the form of subtle, environmental surrounds (breezes blowing through the trees, water flowing through a creek bank, etc) and other, more grotesque effects, are presented nicely in Fox’s track as well.
Wrong Turn contains a very minimalist score that gets its point across and not much more. It was given serviceable treatment in the transfer and received some nice reinforcement from the LFE. As far as the LFE’s concerned … it’s on a completely different level than what I expected, as there is some furniture rearranging bass contained in the track that’ll really get the blood pumping. There’s some serious low-end found in Wrong Turn and it really adds well to the overall experience of the film itself. Dialogue was mainly in the center – crystal clear and intelligible at all times – without any edginess or distortion to speak of.
Fox has also included Dolby Surround options in Spanish and French, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish. All in all, a very ambient and engaging track that can hold its own against most in its genre.
Before I hit the extras, let me say something … I love Fox … always have, always will. They are consistently one of the best – and arguably, the best studio pumping out DVDs today. That being said, I’ll never understand why they create fullscreen/widescreen flippers with different supplements on both sides of the disc! Sheesh! There’s not that much on the disc to begin with and for them to require that viewers physically eject and flip the disc for a few crummy extras is unconscionable. Fox … please fix this … it’s totally unnecessary and very annoying.
And now, on to the extras …
There’s an Audio Commentary with director Rob Schmidt and stars Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku. It’s a pretty laid back affair that was very breezy to listen to – if you can stay awake while Schmidt discusses various aspects of filming and production, as well as some of the extended periods of silence. Even so, it’s obvious the group really had a good time making the film and really believed in the material. They play off of each other well, although Dushku was definitely the major player in the track and definitely dominated the proceedings. There’s some cool anecdotes from behind the scenes – and even some you probably didn’t catch while watching the film – and the commentary brings out some interesting stuff from the shoot. Although there’s nothing extraordinary or in-depth learned, this was a decent little commentary that fans of the film will really enjoy. For everyone else, it’s hit or miss, but the film itself so short that it’s worth a shot.
On the FULLSCREEN side of the disc, you’ll find a few throwaways with the first entitled Featurette: Making of Wrong Turn (4:02). This is a highly promotional feature that borders on laughable. The narration is so over-the-top that it’s almost worth watching just to hear it. Included, we get a few clips from the film intertwined with interviews with the principals (including producer Stan Winston) and learn very little about the film other than its razor thin plot. Not bad, but definitely something you’ve seen a million times over and done much better.
Next is Eliza Dushku: David Williams’ Second Wife … opps … I mean, Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods (3:42) and here, all we get are flattering and toadying comments from director Rob Schmidt and producer Stan Winston about the film’s gorgeous star. We get it … You loved working with her and she’s a great actress! Nothing impressive whatsoever and nothing more than three-minutes of butt kissing comments that are more than likely enjoyed only by Dushku and close family members. (The feature is much shorter than advertised, as we get almost a full minute of credits!)
Lastly, we find Stan Winston Featurette (4:40) and here, we learn about Winston, his career, how he got his start, and the creatures and effects he has created over the years. There are clips from the film mixed in with interview snippets from Winston and stills from many of the projects he has worked on. A fluffy, yet somewhat interesting extra. (Again, almost one full minutes of credits!)
Flip the disc over to the WIDESCREEN side and aside from the Commentary being duplicated, we find Deleted Scenes - all three of them. Individual selections are included for “Waterfall” (3:03), “Francine Kill” (0:31), and “Francine Kill Dailies” (3:20). We have the Francine killing visited twice here, so you can image there’s not much breadth and depth to these scenes. All of the scenes are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen (that still includes timecodes, etc) and Dolby 2.0.
Next up is Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn (9:25) and here, we go a bit deeper behind all of the gory and grotesque murders in the film and how they were created, as well as the creation of the “mountain men”. (It should be a given that there’s some spoiler info in the extra and if you don’t want to know how many in the film die – check this out after you’ve watched the feature.) There’s a bit too much credit given to the script and how scary it supposedly was, but that soon passes and we get into more detail on the characters and the kills. There’s some decent stuff here, but very high-level and unremarkable. While the supplement is good, it’s embarrassingly over-the-top in places – especially when everyone starts making outlandish statements about how great and scary the movie was - and while I appreciate the effort, and the fact that the crew takes such pride in their work, Wrong Turn simply isn’t going to be remembered by most folks five-minutes after the credits roll, much less as a staple of the horror genre.
Finishing off the disc are a few stills of Poster Concepts and a Trailer for Wrong Turn.
Wrong Turn gets the job done as a pragmatic and utilitarian slasher flick and was mind-numbingly enjoyable in spots. And while it’s a great way to waste less than 90-minutes of your life, it’s hard to recommend sight unseen to anyone other than hardcore “Fangoria” subscribers and fans of the genre. Even so, Fox has put out a great DVD that skimps a little on the extras, but makes up for it in superb audio and video transfers.