Wrong Turn: The BRWC Review. By Alif Majeed.
When I heard that the Wrong Turn franchise was getting rebooted by the original movie’s writer, I was pretty apprehensive. It has often been unfavorably compared to slasher classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Hills have Eyes. With each subsequent entry and their attempt to expand its mythology with tales of toxic mutations and cannibalistic families.
It was Wrong Turn 2 that cemented the reputation of the franchise the way it expanded on the story of the cannibalistic Odets family of the first movie. Subsequent prequels and sequels either diluted the family’s impact or made it more confusing, which is why it feels welcome when the makers choose to go in a different direction. Especially if you are aware of the mythology of the Wrong turn universe.
You almost believe that the reboot was Cloverfield-ed, with the makers almost deciding to take an entirely different movie and slap dashing it with the Wrong Turn name at the last minute. That initial apprehension gave way as the movie ended as Alan McElroy, the writer/creator of the original film, successfully toys with your expectations here.
He leaves enough red herrings to make you believe he will tread familiar territory and that it is only a matter of time before the Odets family will arrive to cannibalize the new gang of backpackers. He then surprises you and takes the movie in a direction that you least expect by avoiding the family altogether and brings in a new group of antagonists named the Foundation.
Comparisons to Midsommar are inevitable for the reboot and would make sense when you watch this version. There are even visual cues that you immediately connect to the former movie. But Wrong Turn also feels like a version of The Village if those people were hostile enough to outsiders to cause some real horror movie damage.
Bill Sage’s character might feel very similar to the manipulative Patriarch he played in We Are What We Are. But he is just as terrifying as the leader of the cult of the Foundation, who is more than willing to bend the community rules to suit his own needs while still keeping everyone in check.
As expected by horror movie standards, none of the actors playing the backpackers are memorable. But one of the principal things that slasher movie lives or dies by is how impactful the “final girl” is. Charlotte Vega is pretty good in that role, especially in the second half where she is also is more than convincing in the final girl action mode.
And forget movie fathers, Scott Shaw, Matthew Modine’s character is precisely the kind of dad you hope to have on your side, especially when you are out trekking and get kidnapped and tortured by a fanatical cult. Am not sure how this character would fare against the cannibal family of the original franchise, but it was wonderful to see him here going all in trying to save his daughter.
If there were any allegories about anything, I probably missed it as I wasn’t looking for any. I wanted to watch a horror movie that offered enough slash and dice thrills in line with the franchise while watching this film. That it provides enough of the chills while being its own new beast truly makes it a satisfying reboot.
I hope the cycle will not repeat with the inevitable subsequent sequels trying to demystify the mythology surrounding the new villains they worked so hard to establish here by trying to expand, explain and hammer out every aspect of them. And then finally give up and straight-up give them superpowers or, worse yet when all else fails, send them to space.
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