Review: Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)


Director: Declan O’Brien | 92 minutes | horror, thriller, crime | Actors: Tom Frederic, Janet Montgomery, Gil Kolirin, Cristian Contreras, Jake Curran, Tom McKay, Chucky Venice, Tamer Hassan, Jack Gordon, Louise Cliffe, Charley Speed, Borislav Iliev, Mike Straub, Bill Moody, Emma Clifford, Mac McDonald, Todd Jensen, Vlado Mihailov, Petko Zhivkov, Tzvetislav Samardjiev

Straight to lousy DVD fodder with bad acting, unbelievable action, but for those who love “horror porn” some nasty and explicit scenes to perk up their hearts. It’s a long way down from “Wrong Turn” and even “Wrong Turn 2: Dead End”.

The movie doesn’t waste a lot of time on character building. The title barely ends before the first victims are killed in a gruesome way. According to the golden rules of horror (see also “Scream”), the sloths are the first to go. The lone survivor of the four rafting friends is Alex (Janet Montgomery). Then the action jumps to the prison, where a nightly transport of all kinds of scum will take place, of course guarded by far too few agents, of which Nate (Tom Frederic) is the nominal hero. During the drive through the woods, the bus is pushed off the road by the tow truck of the cannibal Three Finger (Borislav Illiev, the third actor to take on this role).

Apart from that unlikely tour in itself, the unbelievables pile up even faster than the corpses. And they already fall by the bushes. The one even more gruesome than the other. After all, just killing someone is not an option. In a follow-up film (another horror rule) the murder scenes are always more elaborate. In any case, that’s right. Possibly influenced by films like the ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ series, here characters are split in three, impaled through their mouths (twice), their faces cut off with a scythe, wrapped in barbed wire on the highway or dragged their skull lifted with an ax so that Three Finger can take a bite of the brain. Even after death, characters are not safe. In what may be the low point in bad taste is the sawing off of the lower legs of one of the dead prisoners. It’s a pretty sick show, as it will be appreciated only by a very select – and not too critical – audience.

There are plenty of elements from other films to recognize. Alex who manages to escape the monsters and later bumps into a heavily armed group, who are themselves exterminated, is reminiscent of a plot line from ‘Aliens’, the crash of the prison bus seems copied from ‘The Fugitive’ and was not Hannibal the Cannibal himself who lifted Ray Liotta’s brain in ‘Hannibal’? There are more to point out. However, they don’t seem to be clever references or homages, more like a lazy, half-baked collection of clichés. The special effects, if they’re bloody when they’re bloody, are pretty convincing, but the computer effects are really worthless.

Naturally, the characters commit one stupid thing to another. They find a money van that has been lying in the woods for fifty years (?!?), Full of bags of money. Suddenly survival does not seem to be such a priority and there are plenty of arguments among themselves, sometimes with deadly consequences about the distribution of the money, which way to go and what to do with Alex.

The forests of West Virginia (the film was filmed in Bulgaria, by the way) are apparently very small, because characters that are separated from each other meet each other again and again without difficulty. Not to mention Three Finger, who really seems to be everywhere at once to pull another elaborate stunt to kill someone. For someone who looks so grotesquely deformed and can’t pronounce a word of English yet, Three Finger is intelligent enough to create all kinds of booby traps, which still require some skill. Meanwhile, this skinny mutant turns out to be surprisingly resistant to bullets, axes, spears and punches, as befits a horror monster. And while movies like this barely touch reality, and you might expect the villain-cum-killer to have almost supernatural powers, “Wrong Turn 3” takes that line very far.

Anyone who is convinced that he or she wants to spend almost an hour and a half of his or her life with this kind of nonsense should do so. But think about what you could do during that time. Then watch a good horror movie, for example.

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