Anyone who's ever spent more then 7 minutes talking with me knows that I love horror movies. This year alone I'll rank 28 Days Later, Cabin Fever and May among the best flicks of 2003. So it was with noted exuberance that I lined up for Fox's latest flick: a Regency Pictures 'horror in the woods' pick-up entitled Wrong Turn. And I told you all that so I could tell you this: don't bother.Six dumb twenty-somethings end up in a portion of the West Virginia woods that basically no sane person should be spending time in. This woods contains a trio of inbred cannibal mountain folk. Two annoying characters get killed right quick. Another two get killed kinda later.
The remaining two run.
If the screenplay for this film ran longer than 55 pages, I'll formally apologize to screenwriter Alan McElroy (he of the Halloween 4 and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever screenplays) but the simple truth is this:
Nothing of much interest happens in this movie! Like at all! The kills are tame and timed with the efficiency of a bloody Swiss watch, the three lunatics seem plucked whole from earlier (and less dull) horror films and not one of the actors on display seem aware that the movie they're in has been made about 397 times before.
Too one-note to even consider something like a subplot, Wrong Turn earns a few points for its gritty backwoods atmosphere and one or two moments of sustained tension - but the good stuff here is few and far between amidst the frankly boring cat & mouse chase.
Eliza Dushku is as sultry as ever, but if she thinks headlining a 6th-generation Chainsaw homage is her way to vault into the movie-star stratosphere then my guess is she needs a new agent. The chemistry between Dushku and her frequent rescuer Desmond Harrington is sneery at best, though Harrington does the best with the lines he's given.
Why a potentially solid actor like Jeremy Sisto would sign on for what's essentially a "corpse #3" role is also something I can't figure out; one can only assume that roles are scarce these days. Heck, an actor's gotta eat.
I'd like to say that there's a good movie buried somewhere within the rote and predictable narrative of Wrong Turn, but that would just be the horror freak in me trying to find a silver lining. If you're going to deliver a paint-by-numbers rehash of a thousand other horror movies...you simply gotta come up with a new gimmick or sense of humor or something. Simply multiplying the slasher by three and making them cannibals ain't gonna cut it anymore. Especially since it was old-hat in like 1985.LATE-BREAKING NOTE: This happens VERY rarely, but after giving "Wrong Turn" another visit, the flick grew on me big-time. I've grown to appreciate its no-nonsense minimalist approach, and the gore is groovy. I honestly can't remember the last time I "changed my mind" about a flick, but I did so on this one. I leave my original review up for posterity, but I'd also like to now recommend the movie to horror fans. The flick grew on me after I initially disliked it ... and that's something not many horror films can do.