Monday, October 22, 2012

Turn Off: "Wrong Turn" (2003)

In this typical slasher flick, you may find the following mantra helpful: "Don't kill Carly, she's really hot!"

Polite and sullen Chris (Desmond Harrington) is sidetracked in backwoods West Virginia after a truck jacknifes on the highway. He gets lost, and accidentally rams his beautiful Mustang into a car belonging to a half dozen campers. Everybody is shaken up, and Chris, recently-broke-up-with-boyfriend Jessie (Eliza Dushku), sincere Scott (Jeremy Sisto, a long way from the miniseries "Jesus") and Scott's fiancee Carly (my new obsession, Emmanuelle Chriqui) head off to find help, leaving two victims, er, two friends with the wreck.

The people travelling foursome come upon a backwoods house full of stuff taken from other stranded motorists. The house's occupants come home, with the two left behind friends now dead, and begin to eat them. It seems inbreeding can cause genetic mistakes in backwoods people, from imperviousness to pain to facial anamolies to hankering for some human steaks.

The four escape the house and flee into the woods, and the rest of the film has them chased by the three genetic mistakes. Long set pieces take place at a fire watch tower, and the climax occurs back at the disgusting house.

Stan Winston, who I am still mad at for directing the unwatchable Michael Jackson in the unwatchable "Ghosts," produced and provided some appropriately icky makeup for the trio of cannibals. It is neat, unless you ever saw the "Home" episode on "The X Files." Even mentioning the comparisons "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Deliverance" to this film just allows the viewer to realize this is not going to be anything you have not seen before.

I certainly enjoyed ogling Chriqui and Dushku, and Schmidt will break the slasher mold once in a while with a really cool camera move (of which there should have been more of). The characters are not overly stupid, unlike most slasher film victims, and the musical score and opening title sequences are appropriate. The gore effects are great, and the set decoration for the cannibals' house is disgusting.

"Wrong Turn" is kind enough to set itself up for the inevitable direct to video sequel/remake, but I could not bring myself to hate the film. It is bad, and eventually forgettable, but a couple of good shots and some cute girls go a long way. (* *) out of four stars.