Directed by: Rob Schmidt | 84 minutes | horror | Actors: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Kevin Zegers, Lindy Booth, Julian Richings, Garry Robbins, Ted Clark, Yvonne Gaudry, Joel Harris, David Huband, Wayne Robson, James Downing
The deluge of appalling sequels would almost make you forget that the first “Wrong Turn” was an above-average slasher. Even fifteen years later, the original is still rock solid. Apart from the soundtrack and the clothing of the characters, there is little evidence of the age of this film. Thanks to the late Stan Winston. This special effects guru was at the heart of the design of the monsters in this movie. Traditionally, his work enhances the atmosphere and is an excellent example of good make-up work.
“Wrong Turn” centers on the ambitious Chris Flint (Desmond Harrington). This boy is on his way to a job interview, but unfortunately has an accident. During the collision, Chris hits a van with teenagers. Together they try to return home. However, it is not easy, because in the forest where they are stranded lives a gang of cannibals. A struggle for survival begins.
The story fits on a beer mat and you have already seen dozens of variations. Doesn’t matter, because it’s all about the kills and the atmosphere in horror movies. In that respect, things are going well with this “Wrong Turn”. As soon as the villains enter the picture, deliciously gruesome inbred cannibals, the atmosphere becomes grim. It even results in some genuinely tense moments.
The killings are portrayed graphically and are quite explicit by Hollywood standards. Besides the creepy villains, the more than decent acting is striking. The cast is compelling and not as obnoxious as you would expect from the genre. Nine times out of ten, teenagers in slashers are insufferable caricatures, but not in this film. Another plus is the speed. With 84 minutes, this film never gets boring and you stay fascinated.
Unfortunately, it stayed with one good part, because after the original the cheaply made sequels followed at a murderous pace. Bad make-up, B-actors and thrilling and bloodless scripts: many wrong turns were taken. The franchise has really come to a dead end.