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So what makes you scared? What makes anyone scared? Film wise, I think people that scared are those that either really hate cheap jumps, or those that just get into films which makes it all seem more real. Wrong Turn has been sold to me on the basis that it returns to the origins of horror films in that it is less cheesy, and more horrifically violent. It is time to put the travesty that is Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan and turn to the dark woods, and a more probable way to die.

Wrong Turn

The Film
The premise for Wrong Turn is nothing new, however the way it is carried out works very well. Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington – We Were Soldiers/Ghost Ship) is on his way to a job interview in the field of medicine. A chemical spill on the only main road to where he is going leaves him with the choice of waiting around and hoping it gets cleared, or doubling back and taking a dirt route through the woods. He decides to go for it and, seeing a small petrol station, stops for directions. Here we learn he is a polite, well kept young man – a likeable character. He studies a map after not finding much help from the Red Neck attendant and leaves. He is making good time until he comes to a fork in the road and is faced with a choice. Of course, unfortunately for him, he takes the Wrong Turn.

Driving fast to make up any lost time, Flynn races towards his job interview, but is distracted by a dead animal on the roadside meaning that he ends up crashing at speed into an SUV with a couple of flat tires. The passengers were not in the vehicle at the time fortunately however Flynn’s car is now written off and so he has no way to continue. The SUV had run over some home made barbed/razor wire which left it stranded. With no cell phone coverage, the team press on together to find help. The group are formed from Flynn, Jessie (Eliza Dushku – True Lies/Bring it On), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui – Futuresport), Scott (Jeremy Sisto – Six Feet Under), Evan (Kevin Zegers – Dawn of the Dead (2004)) and Francine (Lindy Booth – Teenage Space Vampires).

As they chat it becomes clear that there are two couples in Jessie’s party, which leaves her chatting to Flynn. Walking along a dirt track, they eventually see a weather worn wooden house surrounded by decrepit vehicles of all sorts which they rightly approach with caution. Desperate for a telephone, after repeated knocking and shouting, they decide to enter the abode only to discover that no phone resides inside. However, there does appear to be a lot of unclassified meat in jars in the fridge and Flynn’s medical knowledge tells him what it is, and that is when the occupants decide to return.

Wrong Turn

And that is where I will leave you as I do not want to spoil what happens to the characters. You see the concept of mountain men, hideously disfigured through generations of inbreeding is not a new one – you only have to look at 1977's Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes upon which this is loosely based (even the style of filming was made to hark back to the gritty real days of 70’s style horror). However this film adds the skill of Stan Winston’s experience to the disfigurement of the mountain men making them frightening. Some excellent deaths and lots of suspense made this film for me, terrifying. I admit to like monster films, but overall I am pretty weak when it comes to actual horror. Partially I believe this is because I find it very easy to get into films. I really found myself routing for the characters on screen, for many reasons. Be it for the loving relationship between the two couples, (particularly the second couple who are about to get married) or because of how Jessie describes why they are all there, which demonstrates the bond their share as friends. The main characters really act their parts well, which gives the film a lot of energy. The mountain men are also brilliant, not only in their makeup but in their swagger – the actors really get into character.

People have criticised this film quite a lot but I believe a lot of them watched it to prove how “hard” they are in and then say it was not scary in any way shape or form. That is fine for them, but as I have said, I find it easy to get into a film and be immersed in its world. This in my opinion is a scary film. It is fairly forgettable, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Its short running time keeps the action and suspense at optimum levels of tension and while bits are a little silly, the deaths are gruesome and the cast, scared. Probably the most scared I have been watching a film for a long time. If that sort of thing floats your boat, definitely check this out.

Watching Wrong Turn on a large screen is a great way to enhance the experience. Projected as a six foot image shows the print for what it is and what that is, is very good indeed. Realistic flesh tones, deep blacks and a great level of sharpness/detail make this a very good transfer indeed. The print is also very clean with zero artefacts or blemishes and compression does not raise its ugly head during the performance. A minor gripe is that it can feel a little flat at times, with almost a feeling that the vibrancy of the forest was toned down for a grittier feel. Even so this is a great looking DVD, which means the print will not be distracting you from the on screen terror.

Wrong Turn

An audible mirror of the video quality. A decent amount of surround effects are used (however some are a little quiet in the rear direction) which help immerse the viewers in the forest with twigs cracking off screen and projectile weapons hurtling past your head. While the dialogue is clear, this isn’t a film used to give a sub woofer a hard time. The score works well with the presentation, subtly encouraging tension as the suspense mounts. A good Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but there is not always much to work with to involve the surround speakers. When needed they are used well but it is more to do with the subject matter than any fault of the audio mix.

First up we have a commentary featuring director Rob Schmidt, Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington. It isn’t a particularly enthralling listen with frequent pauses which I found annoying. Schmidt stays focused on the more technical side of the production whilst Dushku provides some little snippets of information however Harrington is fairly quiet throughout the recording. At times it seems the director is more trying to convince himself that his film is exactly like a seventies style horror film instead of tell everyone else. As I mentioned, not a great track which if you do not listen to, I do not think you will be missing out on much, save Dushku’s sexy voice.  

After the commentary track, it still seems like there is a fair amount of extras on this disc but unfortunately not as the featurettes are very promotional and lightweight. The Making of Wrong Turn is a four minute featurette featuring interviews with the cast and crew which does detract from the film in that it makes it less real as the cast treat it as more of an action film rather than a horror. It is a very “made for TV” affair with little real content. Fresh Meat – The Wounds of Wrong Turn is a featurette again features interviews with cast and crew, in particular with director Schmidt talking about the theory behind horror films and even their relation to porn films. It then features Stan Winston talking about the make up for the mountain men, how it was conceived and how some of the deaths were created. This is full of spoilers so do not go near it until you have seen the film. This runs for just over nine minutes and don’t forget to watch the credits as there are a few little extras in there.

Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods is a short (lamely titled) feature about why Eliza was cast and how she worked on the role, and even how she helped change the dialogue for more suitable dialogue for the character. Even Stan Winston talks about her performance in the film and how he coaxed her into the role. This runs for a massive two minutes and forty seconds with an additional minute of credits. Stan Winston Featurette is a feature about the great man and how he started in the business including what films he worked on including what awards he has won. This is short but great as he is one of the legends of our time, and it was enjoyable to see him talking for instance, how he created the Predator. Including credits this runs for four and a half minutes.

Wrong Turn

There are three Extended/Deleted scenes on this disc. Nothing too special here. The extended scenes were rightly cut down for the theatrical cut (especially the kissing scene) and the deleted scene is just the “dailies” for a certain death scene which is essentially a short part of that scene shown many times and so not really a deleted scene in the normal sense, however the final version of this was not in the finished film (I don’t think) so from that perspective I guess it counts.

The Poster Gallery shows four posters for the film, of which two are appalling, one is not so bad, and one is the one used in the films advertising. Finally we have the Theatrical Trailer presented in 16x9, anamorphically enhanced and with six channel Dolby Digital. A good trailer in that it left the film do the talking – voice over man does not have a job here (however it does give away a few bits of the film so if you chose to watch it, wait until after the film).

As you may be able to tell, I was impressed with this film. It was scary throw away film full of tension and presented well indeed. Ok so no Oscars here and it is unlikely to require more than one (possibly two) viewings which I guess puts it in the rental pile especially since its extra features are not exactly mind blowing. I’d imagine a lot of people just won’t “get it” and will go into it looking to be bored but if you enjoy a bit of blood, then certainly, check out Wrong Turn when it is released. I had better mention that there are around five trailers that play when the DVD is inserted. Whilst it is possible to skip them individually, it is not possible to go straight to the menu to watch the film. The trailers do not seem to be accessible from a menu and to me at least, it is shocking that Pathe think this is an acceptable way to release a DVD.

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