johnlink ranks WRONG TURN (2003)

I’ve found that the HBOGO ap on the iPad is great for ‘smaller’ films. I don’t think I’d watch BEN HUR on it, but it is very suitable for those movies which may not need picture perfect clarity. The image is very good when all is well, but there is periodic ghosting or degradation of image as the movie plays out. Once or twice it may crash (though this is rare). The quality on the iPad is perfect for watching a small little horror film I’d never seen called WRONG TURN. This concludes the iPad endorsement which I (sadly) do not get paid for.

I watched WRONG TURN (2003) on 3.1.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

The phrase “solid if not spectacular” could be sufficient to review this film. But of course, I could never be that brief.

Nothing about this movie is extraordinary. The story of a handful of young adults being hunted in the West Virginia woods by a pack of inbred cannibals, there are no moments in here which pop out in such a way as to be movie legend. However, in an era where the average horror film is a below-average movie going experience, I appreciate that WRONG TURN doesn’t have any severely wrong turns itself.

The script follows some famous tropes. Yes, the couple that perform a sex act and smoke pot will be killed first, and the others will die in the order you assume. The villains will make choices with the heroes that they would not make with their other victims, allowing them to live when others never had a chance to see it coming.

This movie came out in 2003 just before the torture porn cycle began, and it is better for it. SAW was 2004, HOSTEL 2005, and then horror movies just weren’t the same. Sure WRONG TURN has its share of gore and pain. It induces queasiness at moments, yet never devolves into torture for entertainment. Certainly, where that line is drawn is purely subjective. For me, I can’t really get on board with the extreme stuff, not because I have a weak stomach or because I think it is ruining the youth of America, but rather because I just don’t find it entertaining. Half the problem with torture porn is that the protagonists are often not particularly sympathetic. WRONG TURN gets that note right, with the four major leads all being people you root for, you get to know, and you want to see make it through. You know it isn’t going to end well for all of them, but the entertainment is in the chase and in the struggle to survive. When someone is offed there is a sense of empathy there since you have tried (as the viewer) to make the journey with them. For me, the first SAW doesn’t cross that line. I like the characters, root for them. From then on, that series devolves. I see that WRONG TURN has 3 sequels, I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happens in this series.

But back on track, there is a scene involving a chase through treetops which works very well, and is the closest to a classic moment as this film gets. The acting is good, and nobody in this is a weak link, even if none of them shine particularly bright. The villains are one dimensional and faceless (almost literally), but they are menacing enough to create a tangible threat. The stakes aren’t too low in this, as sometimes happens in horror, so the characters constantly appear to be in real danger.

I was surprised how well this movie did with me, even if it isn’t one I consider a favorite horror flick. But you can do a lot worse than WRONG TURN. In fact, horror movies usually do a lot worse than WRONG TURN.





~ by johnlink00 on March 2, 2012.

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