Wrong Turn

Starring: Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku
RRP 15.99
Certificate: 18
Available now

On his way to an important interview, Chris Finn faces a huge backup of traffic. Making a u-turn, he tries out a short cut, but this wrong turn may be the last one he ever makes. After crashing into the broken-down vehicle of a group of young friends, an indescribable nightmare begins. Deep in the woods, they encounter monstrous mountain men who have murder on their minds...

Wrong Turn harks back to the era of '70s slasher flicks, back in the days before Scream and the like made it fashionable to intersperse horror with humour. As such, this movie is refreshingly free of quips and one-liners, and simply gets on with the business of being very nasty indeed. The production does exhibit a sense of humour, though it must be a very sick and twisted sense of humour to have devised such grisly deaths as an arrow through the eye, an axe through the head and a garrotting using barbed wire.

These deaths make use of some great special effects, including convincing CGI for the axe-through-head sequence. This being a Stan Winston production, we expect to see some cool make-up effects as well, and the grotesque inbred mountain men don't disappoint, their bodies being just distorted enough to be medically possible while still appalling to behold.

Alan McElroy's script doesn't allow for much in the way of characterisation, but the performances are believable enough. Eliza Dushku (who played Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) dominates the proceedings, ably switching between spirited bravery and downright terror. Despite the predictability of the plot (it doesn't take a genius to work out which of the kids will survive the longest) director Rob Schmidt stages some good shock moments.

Given its very reasonable price, I shouldn't really complain about the relative lack of extra features. These include about 20 minutes of documentary featurettes, a couple of extended scenes and a cast and crew commentary.

This homage to the likes of Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is never going to be hailed as a classic, but it does what it set out to do in terms of terror, bloodletting and suspense.

Richard McGinlay

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