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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Joe Lynch
Cast:
Erica Leerhsen, Henry Rollins, Texas Battle, Daniella Alonso, Steve Braun, Aleksa Palladino, Matthew Currie Holmes, Crystal Lowe
Writing Credits:
Alan B. McElroy (characters), Turi Meyer, Al Septien

Tagline:
In the Forest, Only They Can Hear You Scream.

Synopsis:
Six reality TV show contestants are thrown together for six days in a simulated post-apocalyptic wasteland called "The Ultimate Survivalist." Located in a remote part of West Virginia, the contestants discover that they really are fighting for their survival...against a family of hideously deformed inbred cannibals who plan to ruthlessly butcher them all!

Box Office:
Budget
$4 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/15/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Joe Lynch and Actors Erica Leerhsen and Henry Rollins
• Audio Commentary with Writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien
• “More Blood, More Guts: The Making of Wrong Turn 2” Featurette
• “On Location with P-Nut” Featurette
• “Making Gore Look Good” Featurette


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Wrong Turn 2: Dead End [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 23, 2009)

With a gross of $15 million, 2003’s Wrong Turn didn’t exactly dominate the box office. However, it came with a low budget, and after home video receipts came in, I’m sure it made some money. All of that was enough to eventually spawn a sequel via 2007’s Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.

Once again, we find ourselves in Middle of Nowhere, West VA. Instead of lost 20-somethings, though, End introduces us to former American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell (herself). Without many good career options, she gets stuck as part of a survival reality show set in the WVA backwoods. She accidentally hits a local with her car, and when she tries to help him, we learn this was just a ploy to get her to stop. He goes all vicious cannibal on her, and his partner chops her in half with an axe.

Which doesn’t bode well for her fellow reality stars. Retired Colonel Dale Murphy (Henry Rollins) hosts the show and brings together skateboarder Jonesy (Steve Braun), sexy man-eater Elena (Crystal Lowe), moody art-girl Nina (Erica Leerhsen), former college football star Jake (Texas Battle) and military vet Amber (Daniella Alonso). When Kimberly doesn’t appear, the show needs a sixth contestant, so nerdy series producer Mara (Aleksa Palladino) reluctantly takes on the gig.

Apocalypse: Ultimate Survivalist will force them to survive the primitive setting for five days. Of course, the series’ challenges won’t be the biggest threat to the contestants. Instead, those crazy deformed hillbilly cannibals create the primary problem, so we watch their attacks and see who survives – and how.

If anything else, I appreciate the fact that Dead End doesn’t simply remake the original film. Its creators easily could’ve just reused the same scenario of hot young people lost in the woods. And it does – kind of – but at least its premise proves more creative. I realize that the end result is often similar, but I’m happy that it attempts to differentiate itself from its predecessor in some ways. Another movie in which its characters get trapped ala those in the original flick would’ve been pretty tedious.

Dead End does other things to alter the blueprint. For the most part, its characters seem a lot more qualified to deal with their circumstances. Since they’re involved in a reality survival show, that makes sense. The folks in the first movie were average – though very attractive – people stuck in circumstances beyond their control, whereas those in Dead End volunteered to be stuck in the middle of nowhere so they could be tested mentally and physically. Granted, they didn’t sign up for the cannibalistic mutants, but still, at least they’re not more babes in the woods.

Dead End also toys with “The Rules” of horror films. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the film ensures it’s not always easy to predict which characters will and won’t survive. It doesn’t subvert convention in an easy or obvious way, though. Those “Rules” are so well known that some flicks change them around just to be different. By contrast, the variations found here feel pretty natural, and they manage to really take us by surprise.

Not that any of this means Dead End does anything to reinvent the genre. Indeed, as much as I like the fact it uses a clever reality show set-up, that premise doesn’t factor into the film much after the first act or so. That’s a bit of a disappointment, as it would’ve been nice to see more of the reality idea integrated into the story.

What story there is. No one will accuse Dead End of being heavy on plot – or cohesive. After it sets up its concept, it flutters around from one character to the next without much real logic. It doesn’t attempt to tell a particularly smooth, coherent narrative, though one could argue it’s not supposed to do that. As with most horror flicks, the “story” exists to serve the gore.

And be sure of this: gore fans will find plenty to like here. I wouldn’t want to eat while I watched the movie, as what goes down will probably come right back up. Dead End features plenty of graphic – and disgusting – visuals, so it’s clearly not for the squeamish.

I expect genre fans will enjoy it, though. Nothing about Dead End excels, and it lacks the more visceral scares of the original. That one boasted a more believable sensibility – well, as believable as the mutant cannibal theme gets – while Dead End is more over the top and borderline campy. Nonetheless, it’s considerably more entertaining than I’d expect from a cheap direct-to-video sequel.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Despite some negatives, the transfer usually seemed satisfactory.

The main issue related to sharpness. While much of the film displayed good clarity and accuracy, more than a few exceptions occurred. This meant a mix of strangely soft shots throughout the film. Nonetheless, it usually looked accurate and concise. I saw no concerns with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws also failed to be a problem, though the film could be rather grainy at times.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a fairly green palette to fit the outdoors setting. This gave the film a generally monochromatic feel, but it made sense for the context, and the hues were appropriate and clear. Blacks came across as dark and tight, while shadows provided reasonable delineation. Really, the bouts of softness were the main drawback here and the reason I went with a “B-“.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Dead End, it worked fine for the material. At no point did it threaten to dazzle, though. The track stayed with general outdoors ambience most of the time. It kicked out greater life during the action sequences, as it went with the usual jolts associated with horror flicks. These gave the project good impact when necessary and used the five speakers in a satisfying way.

Audio quality always seemed fine. Speech came across as concise and well-defined, without edginess or other issues. Music showed nice range and vivacity as well. Effects displayed accurate tones and presented good heft when appropriate. Nothing here really excelled, but the package seemed positive enough for a “B”.

When we move to the set’s extras, we begin with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Joe Lynch and actors Erica Leerhsen and Henry Rollins. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of influences and the film’s tone, cast and performances, sets and locations, makeup and effects, stunts and action, cinematography, music and editing, and a few other topics.

Primarily due to Lynch’s presence, this becomes a go-go-go commentary with nary a dead spot. Lynch clearly enjoys the opportunity to talk about movies, so he makes sure that the track offers a lot of good information. Rollins chimes in with a fair amount of nice thoughts as well, while Leerhsen doesn’t have a lot to say. Nonetheless, the men pick up the slack and provide an informative, engaging track.

For the second commentary, we hear from writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at script and story subjects, other concepts considered for the sequel, rewrites and changes, influences and homages.

Expect another useful, insightful chat here. The writers dig into the story, its roots and related subjects here, and they do so in a light, lively manner. The track moves well and proves enjoyable.

Three featurettes follow. More Blood, More Guts: The Making of Wrong Turn 2 goes for nine minutes, 32 seconds and provides remarks from Lynch, Leerhsen, Rollins, producer Jeff Freilich, production designer Brentan Harron, and actors Matthew Currie Holmes, Aleksa Palladino, Steve Braun, Texas Battle, Crystal Lowe, Kimberly Caldwell, and Wayne Robson. “Guts” looks at Lynch’s work on the film, cast and performances, locations, cinematography, and the flick’s goals. At less than 10 minutes, “Guts” doesn’t have enough time to provide a rich glimpse at the production. Nonetheless, it offers a smattering of decent details and makes the most of its short running time.

On Location with P-Nut lasts two minutes, 14 seconds. It shows footage the musician shot while he visited his pal Lynch on the set. It’s a pretty forgettable collection of shots that focuses on the “stump hump” sequence.

Finally, Making Gore Look Good goes for 11 minutes, 31 seconds and includes notes from Lynch, Caldwell, Freilich, Robson, stunt coordinator Jacob Rupp, makeup effects designer Bill Terezakis, effects fabricator PJ Vincent, and special effects coordinator Bob Comer. “Gore” examines makeup, stunts and violence in the film. It boasts a lot of gross but interesting shots from the set and gives us a nice overview of the processes used.

Direct-to-video sequels usually aren’t any good, but Wrong Turn 2: Dead End manages to provide serviceable entertainment – for fans of graphic horror, at least. The movie does nothing to dazzle but it hits the right grotesque notes and provides decent thrills. The Blu-ray gives us erratic but usually good visuals along with positive audio and interesting supplements highlighted by two quality commentaries. Flicks this disgusting enjoy a limited audience, but fans should like this one.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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