A Wrong Turn : Right Into the Horror Genre Cliche
Philip Davetas
6/2/2003 7:21:43 PM

It’s decapitation weather again. And Wrong Turn reminds us that it’s time to crank up your paranoia meters and fear those in-bred mutants milling about in the backwoods of West Virginia—the heart of Democracy. After generations and generations of sister-raping, a genetic mutation of brothers has swilled up on humanity’s evolutionary chain. They prey on curious little furry woodland creatures, highway patrolman, people having sex in the woods, people smoking that evil pot, loud mouth assholes who think they’re cool, girlies peeking around creepy corners looking for their (recently dismembered) boyfriends, -- and my all-time fave: hacking up people with no common sense.

The thing with most survival flicks is that only the stars and the ones with the least amount of character flaws make it to the end titles. Here are the rules: The dumb girl always gets killed. You must have some common sense to survive in the world or you could wind up getting other people hurt. The couple will die that just have to hump while there’s a maniac on the loose, because sex is evil and sinners must be punished. The smart-ass always gets killed because brains aren’t an overly-popular trait in the reality-TV world we live in today.

As the flickaroo goes, it’s okay. The chases and hiding are decent. The livestock is reasonably likable. The death scenes are nice and bloody, but the body count is only 7. Kinda low for a genre pic, but we’ll take what we can get.

All this carnage justifies and reinforces the studio’s message that you must be good-looking, have good social skills and all your ethics and morality in check. Straying from these moral majority guidelines means you’ll have no relevance to the human race and that you deserve a nice and bloody death.

As far as horror pictures go, Rob Schmidt’s directing is great and he really knows how to deliver a genre piece. Since the 1980’s, directors have done horror flicks without knowing anything about the genre itself; kind of half-stepping it until they get a better script and bigger budget to fuck up. I won’t name any names—James Wong. But Wrong Turn serves the genre, it just also happens to suffer from cliché-ridden messages and a lame premise. See it and be good, damn it. The Democracy Mountain Men are watching you.

Kill All the In-Breds:
Cabin Fever, Jason Vs. Freddy, Dee Snyder’s Strangeland, Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Grim Prairie Tales, The Forsaken, Near Dark, Motel Hell, Cannibal Ferox, I Spit on Your Grave, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1, 2, 3 and 4, House of 1000 Corpses, Redneck Zombies, Deliverance, Pumpkinhead, Southern Comfort, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, U-Turn, People Under the Stairs, Haunted, Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes…

Wrong Turn (2 ½ out of Four)
R, 2003, 90 min., Twentieth Century Fox.

Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Kevin Zegers, Music by Elia Cmiral, Produced by Robert Kulzer, Erik Feig, Stan Winston, Brian Gilbert, Written by Alan McElroy and Directed by Rob Schmidt.


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