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Wrong Turn (2003) film review


Directed by: Rob Schmidt

Written by: Alan B. McElroy

Starring: Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington, Julian Richings and Jeremy Sisto

Throwback Film Review by: Rachel Pullen


Wrong Turn movie poster
Wrong Turn movie poster

I did some thinking, I said to myself “Hey, you’re more than a one-trick pony, how about we talk about something other than horror, other films exist you know''...and I was like ok, let’s watch some thrillers then. And while I scrolled and scrolled through Netflix and Amazon’s choices of anything but horror I somehow, kinda accidentally clicked on a horror gem that I had always avoided called Wrong Turn.

You may be wondering why I avoided it since 2003! Well personally I was busy and I'm not a creature feature kind of gal, and the idea of weird, deformed mountain folk trying to eat people in the desert/mountain/other large areas sparse of humans, just always felt a little over played and dull. There is little substance and we have seen it time and time again since The Hills Have Eyes came out, but with its upcoming remake release, Amazon was doing a good job pushing it into my feed until I gave in a clicked play.

Wrong Turn tells the story of Chris (Desmond Harrington) who is running late for an important job interview and when he is faced with a highway gridlock he heads onto the back roads and ends up smashing into the only other car on the road...ever...way to go, Chris, with those observation skills I hope you don't get the job.

He decides to chum up with these other peeps as they head into the mountains to look for some help, but it’s not long before they realise their accident was not so accidental and that they are being singled out by a bunch of cannibalistic hillbillies, queue banjo solos now.

Now normally I would have checked out but Wrong Turn had a level of class in regards to the execution of the whole affair; the opening credits are the only clue we have to the hillbillies’ desire to eat humans for most of the film, and it’s not until the end of the movie that we find out that they are resistant to pain, we don't ever see them enough for us to find them silly, we are constantly in the position of the victim, running from the hicks and seeing them at a distance, keeping us the viewer kind of in the dark, and truly creating a sense of realism to a some what silly idea. In essence, like Chris and his new pals, we have no idea what the fuck these badly dressed mountain folk want from us.

Wrong Turn gives us suspense by the bucket load, the hillbillies stalk silently, blending into the hillside, knowing every area, always giving them the upper hand over their victims. We see the road in the distance only to have them drag us away, we hold our breath as we hide in the closet as the hicks move around us, and although, as I stated hill billy cannibal killers ain’t my bag, you can’t deny the energy and viewing pleasure that brings to any horror flick, basically if you’re not holding your breath with them or screaming “run!!” as they dart away from the killer, then you’re watching a bad movie...or you’re a robot.

This film gave me a lot more enjoyment than I had ever expected, and I am the sort of person who can’t admit when I am wrong, so much so I wish I had seen this film sooner, and maybe my lack of faith, if you will, in what Wrong Turn was going to provide me, is what allowed me to really love every element of it.

These kind of films are not there to be taken seriously, it’s hillbillies, who wanna eat people, we are not really dealing with a Cannes film submission here, and with that in mind it’s hard to not enjoy it for what it is, a film that lives to cash in on the teen slasher flicks of the late 90's / early 2000's and I'm all about it, slather me in mud and send me into the hills because out running those hicks seems like a fun team-building exercise.

Now there are like a million sequels apparently and number 2 has punk rock singer Henry Rollins in it so that's gonna be a riot, maybe I won’t do them all as apparently they get rather awful, but you can’t keep me from Mr Rollins: his dead pan face/acting style is erotic at best, are you mad or sad...I can’t tell.

So what have we leaned this week?

  • The mountains have secrets

  • Doctors are unobservant

  • And hillbillies have the worst fashion taste.

Happy hiking.



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