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Rob Schmidt
Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Lindy Booth, Kevin Zegers
Writing Credits:
Alan B. McElroy

It's the last one you'll ever make.

An indescribable nightmare begins when a group of young friends are stranded on an isolated road deep in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, with no hope of rescue. Desperate and fearing for their lives, the horror surges as they find themselves relentlessly pursued by a force of evil beyond their imagination! Featuring a hip ensemble of up-and-coming young stars, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Eliza Dushku, this blood curdling epic is a shock-a-minute horror rush that will leave you screaming for more!

Box Office:
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$5.161 million on 1615 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.417 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 10/14/2003

• Audio Commentary with director Rob Schmidt and stars Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku
• Featurette: Making of Wrong Turn
• Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods
• Stan Winston Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn
• Poster Concepts
• Trailer

Search Titles:

TV - Mitsubishi CS-32310 32"; Subwoofer - JBL PB12; DVD Player - Toshiba SD-4700; Receiver - Sony STR-DE845; Center - Polk Audio CS175i; Front Channels - Polk Audio; Rear Channels - Polk Audio.


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Wrong Turn (2003)

Reviewed by David Williams (October 9, 2003)

Scream was popular for a reason; it was because it was self-aware of the slasher-film-by-the-book roadmap that the vast majority of horror films follow and even though most moviegoers knew “the rules”, it was cool seeing someone in a horror film actually admit it. Well, it looks like the crew behind Wrong Turn saw Scream … and Joy Ride … at a double-feature, jotted down a few notes, and decided amongst themselves, “Heck, we can do that.” Then, the group sat down in front of the TV and managed to catch an episode of The X-Files entitled “Home” and they said, “Now we have our villains! Crazed, deformed, and murderous hillbillies!”

However, all of that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Wrong Turn admittedly manages to entertain - albeit slightly - much in the same way I was entertained by the recently released Cabin Fever; I threw back a couple of drinks, knew what to expect going in, and enjoyed it for the mindless fun that it was meant to be. Wrong Turn only lasts a scant 84-minutes and being in the horror genre, you can imagine that the plot only exists to put people into really cool and unique situations to die.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but six young city slickers end up stranded on a rural, backwoods road after a small accident. You see, while on his way to a job interview – and running quite late – Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) gets caught up in traffic after an 18-wheeler jackknifed on the highway and spilled some dangerous chemicals on the road. Finn turned around, stopped at a rural gas station, checked out a map, and found an alternate route down an old country road. He followed it and ended up slamming into the rear end of the SUV that contains the other principals in the story who happened to be headed out on a camping trip. After further investigation, it seems that the road was booby-trapped with some barbed wire that caused the SUV’s tire to blow - and as expected, this leaves all six more than a little nervous.

Surrounded by thick forests and mountains, the sextet decides it’d be best if they split up (doh!) to look for help. Sexually charged pot heads Francine and Evan (Lindy Booth and Kevin Zegers respectively) stay behind for a little tryst – and unbeknownst to their friends, die rather quickly – so that leaves Finn to hang with the remainder of the folks from the accident scene; tough girl Jessie (Eliza Dushku) and her recently engaged buddies, Carly and Scott (Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto). While looking for help and a way out of the woods, the group runs across a cabin filled with some questionable meats … and when its inhabitants come home and their friend Francine ends up on the slab, things start to get a little out of hand.

The three hillbillies (Julian Richings, Garry Robbins, Ted Clark) who own the place were the ones who set the trap and are definitely expecting company. They track the remainder of the group down like hunters track down game and as the movie progresses, the kids start getting picked off one by one in ways that only cannibalistic hillbillies can do it. Everything from barbed wire to a bow-and-arrow to knives and axes aid our stars in meeting their maker and with Eliza Dushku on the cover, you have probably figured out that at least she lives through the ordeal … and she does … with a distinct possibility for a sequel offered up at the end.

The film telegraphs its every move just in case you weren’t paying attention and Wrong Turn follows all of “the rules” – the big group splits up; it’s never hard to figure out who’s going to die next; the methodically slow hillbillies somehow manage to track down young, nubile teens; and the remainder of the group that’s alive always manages to stand around way too long to watch their friend die. It should be rather obvious at this stage in my review that Wrong Turn brings nothing new to the table, but it doesn’t do a bad job of paying homage to those that went before it.

The film was smartly directed by Rob Schmidt and he keeps things interesting at a very concise 84-minutes of running time. There’s not too much dead air, the action and its setups are agreeably staged, the cast members take themselves and their material seriously enough, and the film mercifully knows when it’s time to leave.

Stan Winston’s involvement in the film doesn’t pay off as much as I’d hoped it would, as Wrong Turn doesn’t allow Winston, or his company, to show off too much. The effects themselves are appropriately gory, but at least one of the inbred hillbillies seriously looks like a third-rate rip-off of one of the creatures seen in the aforementioned X-Files episode, “Home”. Winston and company definitely stick to the basics here and make sure that the blood, guts, and dismembered body parts are as vomit-inducing as possible.

Wrong Turn is a throwback to backwoods horror flicks of the 70’s like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. Reminiscent of recent flicks like Cabin Fever, Wrong Turn doesn’t take itself too seriously and much like House of 1000 Corpses, it revels in mindless gore. It’s not the greatest horror/suspense film you’ll ever see, but it’s fun enough because it never tries to be anything more than what it is – mindless, cannibalistic, hillbilly fun and a great way to blow a rainy afternoon.

The DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8636 Stars Number of Votes: 44
11 3:
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