[box cover]

Wrong Turn

On first inspection, 2003's Wrong Turn comes across as a rip-off (or homage, if one wants to be polite about it) to such classic '70s horror films as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. But in closer inspection, it owes more to the movies that ripped those films off — like Tourist Trap and The Prey — with a splash of the also-derivative Jeepers Creepers thrown in for good measure. Wrong Turn follows Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) as he runs into a traffic jam and thus heads for the back roads, hoping to make it on time to his job interview. But a distraction causes him to rear-end another car filled with nubile young people who were waylaid by a row of barbed wire strewn across the road. As the four primary cast members (Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto, and Emmanuelle Chiqui) go to search for assistance, two of their friends engage in premarital sex, light up a doobie, and find out what the audience knew from the pre-credit sequence: The hills are alive with sounds of inbred cannibals! It doesn't take long for the band of four to find the home of the mutants (who speak gibberish, but are excellent planners), and then to figure out they should get as far away from the crazed cannibals as fast as they can. From there, the story follows the "Generic horror film blueprint" to its end — the lower-credited characters die while the remaining cast winds up in a standoff against the mutants. Trading on the urban fear of the backwoods that Hollywood has been exploiting since Deliverance, as directed by Rob Schmitt (best know for his indie work on pictures like Crime and Punishment in Suburbia), the experience is as derivative as it sounds. That said, Wrong Turn delivers the gore and moves at a brisk enough pace (84 minutes — or 79, sans credits) to never become wearying — if one has the stomach for another mutant hillbilly movie, of course. And it is the gore that is the most fascinating element of the movie — horror films are like musicals in that the plot is generally just there to set up the fancy numbers, and in this case those thrills are delivered as one character gets garroted, and another gets an axe through the mouth — allowing the rest of the body to fall off. Fox presents Wrong Turn in both anamorphic (1.85:1) and full-frame transfers with DD 5.1 audio. Extras include a sparse commentary by director Schmidt and stars Dushku and Harrington, four featurettes, a collection of three deleted scenes/outtakes, the trailer, and poster ideas. Keep-case.

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