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Enter the Crypt as John "The Unimonster" Stevenson and his merry band of ghouls rants and raves about the current state of Horror, as well as reviews Movies, Books, DVD's and more, both old and new.

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22 February, 2009

DVD Review: WRONG TURN

2003 was a banner year for Horror, continuing a trend which, by my reckoning, began in 1999 with the blockbusters THE SIXTH SENSE, THE MUMMY, and SLEEPY HOLLOW. Now, with so many good films, such as FREDDY vs. JASON, JEEPERS CREEPERS 2, CABIN FEVER, and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, coming out in that year, it’s inevitable that one or two films will get forgotten or overlooked, such as what happened to STIR OF ECHOES when it was up against the marginally superior but far more buzzworthy THE SIXTH SENSE. What’s even more likely is that a good film, one which might really stand out in an average year, simply can’t compete in terms of quality in a year such as we’ve just had. That was the misfortune suffered by WRONG TURN, a film which tries very hard; mostly succeeding, but still unable to compare favorably with the glut of high-quality Horror that we were treated to in 2003.

The story is good; not great, not original, but it serves well enough. Schmitt’s direction, though capable, is far from inspired. Though I won’t give away the plot, suffice it to say that the movie could’ve been much more suspenseful and frightening had it tried to be less a copy of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and explored the potential in the premise of this film.

The cast is one of the best parts of the film, with a better than average gathering of Hollywood’s current crop of the Gen-X crowd. Eliza Dushku is definitely one of the hottest actresses working today, and she gives this one what little star power it possesses. Though the rest of the ensemble is primarily unknown, they do their jobs adequately, leading one to believe that we’ll be seeing bigger and better from them. As with TCM, this is a very small cast, with the male and female leads on-screen for most of the movie, and they do a good job carrying the film, especially Dushku. Some of the situations that they find themselves in are certainly very contrived, you can at times sense the cast wanting to wince at the dialogue, and towards the end the film confuses itself with an action movie, but these are, on the whole, minor complaints, and don’t really detract from your enjoyment of the film.

What does detract from that enjoyment, though, is the thoroughly unsatisfying design of the “Mountain Men” creatures. The Make-Up effects design looks hokey and amateurish, more suited to a Troma movie than a serious Horror film. I wished that they had either made them full-fledged monsters, or just normal-looking psychopaths. The post-nuclear mutant look just didn’t work for this reviewer.

The DVD is well done, though thin on extras. The only thing I paid attention to were the deleted scenes; occasionally, you find something that makes you think, “Why wasn’t THIS in the finished film?” No such luck here. The scenes that were cut would’ve contributed nothing to the finished product, and deserved to wind up on the floor. The best part of the DVD extras were the working shot of one of the death scenes… it was interesting to see the staging of the shot minus all the make-up and sound effects.

To sum it up, this is a very good B-Movie; fun, exciting, fast-paced, with a decent plot. It has problems, like all B-Pictures, but nothing that should ruin it for the average viewer. Dushku is a visual treat, which, combined with some talent and career choices that are keeping her in the genre, should make her a bona fide contender for the current holder of the Scream Queen crown. As long as your expectations aren’t unreasonably high for this, you should enjoy it. I say this is a definite rental, with an option to buy.












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