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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Wrong Turn (2003)

Jessie: Whoa, wait guys, this road isn't on here.
Carly: That's because we don't have the redneck world atlas.

- Eliza Dushku, Emanuellle Chiriqui

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: October 12, 2003

Stars: Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harington, Emanuelle Chiriqui, Jeremy Sisto
Director: Rob Schmidt

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, language, and drug use
Run Time: 01h:24m:13s
Release Date: October 14, 2003
UPC: 024543096498
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ CAA- C+

DVD Review

Wrong Turn represents a return to the golden days of horror films, when slashers were effectively creepy rather than dishearteningly boring. Lifting a page from such horror masterpieces as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn features a group of friends stuck in the middle on nowhere (West Virginia this time) and sees them terrorized by maniacs out for a good time. While Wrong Turn lacks the general uneasiness and better than average script that the former films possess, it is still a technically proficient thriller that breathes hope into a fading genre.

When medical student Chris Finn (Harrington) goes off the beaten path in an effort to avoid a massive traffic jam on his way to an interview, he takes a back road in rural West Virginia that is not on any map. When his shortcut comes to a halt after he crashes into an SUV, he happens upon a group of stranded adolescents with a flat tire. As Chris, Jessie (Dushku), Carly (Chiriqui), and Scott (Sisto) venture deeper into the woods in search of a working phone, it becomes clear that the flat tire was not an accident, and more importantly, that there happens to be a group of inbred maniacs who have a thirst for carnage.

As a straight forward horror film, Wrong Turn excels beyond the limitations of recent genre entries. With slick direction by Rob Schmidt as well as very fine makeup effects by Stan Winston, the film maintains a level of tension that is never threatened by the poor screenplay no matter how hard it tries. Schmidt restrains from showing too much of his villains, which is effective in the end as we are increasingly frightened with each new image.

Where Wrong Turn goes, well, "wrong" is in the script by Alan McElroy. McElroy crafts four central characters that are interesting enough, thanks more so to the performances, and yet he fails to surround them with situations that seem fresh and terrifying. Anyone who can not pick out the order in which the victims will fall will need to return to grade school immediately after viewing Wrong Turn. The villains also get poor treatment in the script, as McElroy offers up only a mythology about the mountain men seen in the opening credits as back story for the twisted rednecks. A better script would have offered perhaps a stronger reason for the crimes rather that just setting them loose to terrorize our protagonists.

The central idea of Wrong Turn combined with a strong technical lineup helps to craft a better than average horror film that deserves to stand above the other countless releases in the local video store.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Presented in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame transfers, Wrong Turn boasts one of the better transfers that I have seen recently. Colors are incredibly vivid and sharp while black levels show no grain throughout. Sharpness and detail are incredibly well done giving the transfer a very film like look. No edge enhancement is noticeable throughout, while the print used is exceptionally clean and free of flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is effective in adding to the atmosphere of the film by offering terrific use of the split surround speakers. The dialogue in the center channel is done nicely with crispness and no drop outs, while the left and right speakers do a fine job of reinforcing the score and ambient effects. The real star of the mix are the surround speakers, as they are consistently active and help to ratchet up the tension throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Deleted Scenes
4 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Rob Schimdt, actors Eliza Dushku, and Desmond Harrington
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Poster Concept gallery
Extras Review: The extra features for Wrong Turn are spread equally across both sides of the dual sided DVD. An audio commentary by director Rob Schmidt and actors Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington is fun listen as the trio discuss the trials of making the film while also poking fun at the performances while also sharing some behind-the-scenes stories. There are very few gaps of silence in the track, though there are moments where the three get off topic and the commentary becomes fairly uninteresting. Four brief featurettes are available, though none amounts to anything more than a mild distraction. Making of Wrong Turn, Babe In The Woods: Eliza Dushku, Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn and The Wizardry of Stan Winston comprise these shorts. with the most interesting being the pieces on the makeup and effects done by Stan Winston.

A collection of poster concepts, a threesome of deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer make up the remaining extra features. The deleted scenes are essentially alternate versions of pre-existing scenes with only small differences.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

While not as terrifying as its predecessors, Wrong Turn certainly gets the job done. It is a creepy, bloody, and generally well made fright flick that deserves an audience. The DVD is nicely done as well, with an outstanding video transfer. In a season when the blockbusters of summer are making their ways onto shelves keep and eye out for a treat like Wrong Turn. Sure it is schlock, but it is good schlock.


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