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20th Century Fox presents
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

"We shouldn't be here."
- Nina (Erica Leerhsen)

Review By: Ross Johnson   
Published: October 30, 2007

Stars: Henry Rollins, Erica Leerhsen
Other Stars: Texas Battle, Aleksa Palladino, Daniella Alonso
Director: Joe Lynch

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic horror violence, strong language, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:37m:00s
Release Date: October 09, 2007
UPC: 024543411048
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BA-B B-

DVD Review

For the sake of disclosure, I should mention that I've never actually seen Wrong Turn, 2003's modestly successful fright flick starring Eliza Dushku. As such, I came to this sequel with no preconceptions whatsoever. It's also worth noting that this movie appears to have very little to do with the original film, at least in terms of figuring out what's going on. You'd be perfectly safe in grabbing Wrong Turn 2 with no knowledge of the original. The only carryovers from the first film are the baddies, who form the basis of the creepy premise that propels this series (if indeed two films constitute a series).

The structure is almost charmingly old-fashioned: a family of killers (actually, incestuous, irradiated, cannibal rednecks) chase attractive young'uns around the forest and dispatch them in increasingly unpleasant ways. Henry Rollins (his character has a name, but it's largely incidental) plays a former Marine who hosts a new, and decidedly Z-grade, reality show filmed by an impossibly small crew deep in the woods. Naturally, few of the aforementioned young'uns get very far before being hideously mangled, mutilated, and/or dismembered by said cannibals (fear not, though, they do last long enough for a single obligatory boob-shot). Rollins provides the neat twist: while our cannibals hunt the teens, he takes to hunting them. In fact, if I ever become enmeshed in a horror-movie scenario, I know who I'm calling. He plays less a character than a meaner, tougher version of himself, but that's exactly what you want when on the run from mutated hillbillies with a taste for man-flesh. So many modern slasher movies focus on the killer in such a way that we're meant to relate more to a homicidal maniac than to any of the "good guys." Those movies tend to be little more than gruesome power fantasies, and lack any real suspense. Wrong Turn 2 wisely avoids that conceit. The good guys aren't always particularly likeable, and it's still plenty gruesome, but it's clear who we're meant to root for. There's even a bit of character development, as one of the shallow reality stars gradually finds an inner hero. The characters are all fairly stock: the snotty blonde, the horny nerd, etc., but they actually grew on me over the course of the movie. Director Joe Lynch clearly has enough of a grasp the slasher genre to throw all of the right ingredients into the pot. Perhaps most impressively, though the movie is one of the most gruesome that I've seen lately, it's never mean-spirited or misogynistic.

So, here's the thing: I'm not sure that this is a "good" movie in any objective sense, but I rather enjoyed it nonetheless. It's almost stomach-churningly nasty at points, which will probably be a plus to the folks most interested in a direct-to-video sequel to Wrong Turn. On its own exceedingly modest terms, it works as a brainless bit of entertainment. Henry Rollins is reliably entertaining as always, and it really looks as though the filmmakers had fun coming up with nauseating things for the cannibals to do (if you've ever wanted to see deformed cannibal mutants getting' it on, this may be your movie of the year…). They also made an effort to invest the main characters with personalities and give each of them a little growth (not a lot, but enough). It ain't much, but I'm inclined to give them credit for trying. It's a solidly brainless bit of entertainment, which is not to say that no brains went into making it. I wasn't expecting much, but horror fans could do a lot worse.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The transfer is surprisingly clean and free of defects. Very nice overall.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 track doesn't sound particularly full or engaging, but there are no major flaws with it either.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Included among the special features are the 13-minute featurette Making Gore Look Good, which demonstrates the creation of many of the effects in the film. Director Lynch and crew all look like they're having a great time coming up with blood-soaked props and gags. The Commentary Track includes actors Henry Rollins, Erica Leersen, and Joe Lynch. Again, there's an infectious sense of fun being had, especially from Lynch who is pleased as punch to talk about all aspects of the production. The finished disc should include a writer's commentary, as well as a couple of extra featurettes, but those weren't included on the screener copy, so I can't comment.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

If you're picking up the direct-to-video Wrong Turn 2 expecting a modern horror masterpiece, then you are sorely confused, and I can do nothing for you. On its own modest terms, though, this film works. In today's world of dark, button-pressing horror films, this is a low-budget throwback to a time when a slasher movie could be nasty and bloody, but still have a sense of fun.

 


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