- Desmond Harrington as Chris Flynn
- Eliza Dushku as Jessie Burlingame
- Emmanuelle Chriqui as Carly
- Jeremy Sisto as Scott
- Kevin Zegers as Evan
- Lindy Booth as Francine
- Julian Richings as Three Finger
- Garry Robbins as Saw Tooth
- Ted Clarke as One Eye
Rob Schmidt harks back to 70’s horror film such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills have Eyes with Wrong Turn, a derivative but effective slasher set in the West Virginia Mountains and woods. If it’s originality you’re looking for, this won’t be for you. If it’s a slasher film with nerve-shredding music, attractive cast and creepy assailants, Wrong Turn may well appeal to you.
Chris Flynn is a young doctor travelling through the West Virginia Mountains to an important meeting. Because of a chemical spill on one of the roads, he decides to take another route to get to his destination quicker. After taking this turn, he collides with a stalled SUV in the middles of the woods. The SUV belongs to six friends; Jessie, Carly, Scott, Francine and Evan. Their vehicle has stopped because someone has placed barbed wire on the road causing their tires to blow. Teaming up with the group, Chris follows them through the woods in search of help, while lovebirds Francine and Evan stay with the damaged vehicles and smoke pot. The rest of the group eventually come across a ramshackle cabin and they decide to enter. Once inside they realise that this is cabin does not exactly belong to the friendliest of people, as body parts, hoards of keys and blooded belongings to campers are discovered. Just as they are about to leave, the occupants arrive. It turns out they are cannibalistic mountain men who are horribly disfigured through generations of inbreeding. They have been turning the woods into a hunting ground and kill anyone who trespasses. Now it is a life or death battle as the group is pursued by the ravenous troika of mountain men. Cue for gory death, chases a plenty and the ambience of a 70’s horror flick as Wrong Turn shifts into fast gear and doesn’t let up until the end.
Whilst low on originality( the film owes more than a debt to Deliverance and Chainsaw Massacre), Wrong Turn still has enough thrills to last it’s 80 minute runtime. Rob Schmidt manages this through unusual camera angles and contrasting lighting. The make up department should be praised for creating menacing villains, we only get a few glances of their faces but the killers are still a startling sight. The trio is all the more scary for their interesting and modern hunting methods, one is a deft archer whilst another has an uncanny gift for smell. The atmospheric and exciting is perfectly attuned to the fast-moving pace of the film.
The two leads, Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku, turn in the heroics as the laconic de facto leader and athletic and resourceful babe of the bunch. Jeremy Sisto as the wise-cracking best friend has his moments, but is chronically underused. Emmanuelle Chriqui is also lumbered with an uninteresting character, the screaming girl of the bunch who is basically there to eventually die in some gruesome way. The lack of character development with these two can be distracting, though you probably won’t notice because of the breakneck speed of Wrong Turn.Although it has its fair share of gore( one victim has her mouth torn open with rusted barbed wire), it is the things we don’t see that are most chilling. This is illustrated when the cannibals arrive home and the young group who are hiding, watch in horror as the cannibals eat their daily meal of another unwitting teenager. We don’t really see anything, it is what we hear that makes the blood run cold. Schmidt manages some thrilling, nail-biting sequences such as the group’s discovery of a car and caravan necropolis and their attempt to sneak out of the cabin without becoming the next meal for the trio of mountain men.
So in short, Wrong Turn doesn’t bring anything new to the table. But, it does have two interesting lead characters, some seriously scary killers and a relentless pace that leaves the knuckles white and the blood chilled. Not the best horror film but one that surely packs a punch with gruesome discoveries and eerie surroundings.