Wrong Turn: Right decision…
Whilst ordinarily I wouldn’t be all that fussed about a re-boot of a franchise, which in itself was essentially a throwback series of sorts, there was just the right amount of buzz in the media for this modernised entry to pique my interest.
As it turns out ‘Wrong Turn’ (2021) is very much worthy of the welcome reception it appears to be receiving from fans and critics alike. This is a reboot done right, managing to make a film which retains the same brutal feel in its gore, a factor that made that made the original stand out from the pack at the time, whilst equally maintaining the same authentic wilderness US locations yet modernising the franchises socio-political contexts; if there was ever a chance to convince me the whole ‘reboot’ fashion was justifiable ‘Wrong Turn 2021’ comes closest I’ve seen.
The plot of the movie sees an inclusive group of young persons take a trail well off the beaten track leading them into the territory of a group of survivalists calling themselves ‘The Foundation’. Once found encroaching on their self-governed land the group find themselves besieged with traps and effectively hunted until their eventual capture. Whilst one of the group’s father is looking for his daughter in the ‘outside’ world, the group (or what’s left of them anyhow) must rely on their wits and instincts to keep themselves alive as they endure The Foundation’s ‘hospitality’.
Its all pretty formulaic stuff, but it’s a welcome back for big slasher movie releases. The plot makes use of its smaller subplots to effectively make the film’s limited scope seem somewhat more elaborate. The setup to the movie is fairly linear, with all of the typical modern social tropes and allegories referenced in patronisingly simple fashion, we get to know the group, a mixed bunch of the bland and cliché, however, once the film kicks in the gore is not only visceral but kept fresh by switching perspectives. As we follow the different storylines, with the desperate father looking for his daughter, and the fight for survival of the captured group interchanging screen time, they offer a nice contrast which helps accentuate the groups plight, as well as doing a great job of ensuring the isolation of their location seems both geographically and metaphorically worlds apart.
‘The Foundation’, whilst blatant in what they ‘represent’ are given some decent moral juxtapositions, and even the pious nature of our rather ‘woke’ protagonists come a cropper when faced with some of the ‘primitive’ culture. Again, its clever for a slasher, it catches you off guard, it forces you to question rationales, it blurs the lines, if ever so slightly, about morals – and of course the implications for the increasing real-world conflicts and clashes; very similar I would say to the way that Aster’s ‘Midsomer’ makes you think.
It’s a far cry, and dare I say development, from the inbred cannibals of old!
Naturally however, I wouldn’t watch a slasher movie with the sole intent of having my morals questioned and whilst I patiently accepted the by-the-numbers opening sequences I was waiting for the film to pass its most important test, would the gore be in keeping with the franchises most gross out kills?
The answer is yes, in fact this film does a fantastic job of not only showing some pretty strong gore effects and aftermath, but its fairly sadistic in parts to. The only mild criticism I would say is that the film seems to offer up the goods in some fairly spaced out packages, with numerous deaths in quick succession with some gaps in between, not an issue at the start, but just ever so slightly bloats the films lengthy middle act(s). That said, the final act, and indeed final set piece is full of carnage so its well worth the wait!
I’m not going to say to much, cause you want to just enjoy it, but there’s plenty of mangled faces, bloody entry and exit wounds, some cruel and creative torture and then some excessively brutal just deserts dished out as our lead characters come into their own.
Overall, is it perfect? Is it a landmark slasher film? Honestly, probably no to both. For my personal tastes I don’t find the whole ‘feral mountain man’ type stalker can hold a candle against the more famed masked urban maniacs, but I will say this, ‘Wrong Turn’ pretty much perfects its niche scenario; and with its depth and creativity I would even go as far as to say that it does a great job of establishing itself at least in line with the original movie, if not better it by all accounts (your milage may vary on that opinion though). In any case, this movie is well worth a watch on release, I’ve no doubt you will enjoy it.