it's a film that is a throw back to seventies horror flicks, and claims to have eliza dushku as the lead. now, i'm not the biggest fan of old horror flicks, but i do think dushku has a fine screen presence, and i've always enjoyed watching her. i won't degrade myself to those reading this by admitting what films i have seen her in, but let me just say this: i tutor high school kids, and they have appalling film taste, and there was a period where we'd watch films and discuss them instead of reading the poetry of keats and ezra pound. because, you know, those poets are so damn popular among the kids these days. anyhow, where was i? oh, yes, i've seen eliza dushku in more than a few things, and if it's a cold winter night with nothing much happening, a film that promises her and a bunch of inbred hicks is kinda tempting.
but, the first shock is that dushku isn't the main character. it's desmond harrington, who i've never seen before, but who plays the doctor turned survivalist turned hick hunting hero. eliza holds her own next to him, playing the recently dumped girl turned survivalist turned arrow shooting hick killer, but the film starts with harrington and we follow him throughout the film, so, you know, he's the lead. as you can tell by my little character descriptions, wrong turn characterisation happens as is necessary in the film. if it's time for you to run, fight, scream, or be chained to a bed with a gag in your mouth in a strangely appealing scene... well, then, that's what your character is going to do.
(and for buffy and angel fans out there, eliza has apparently run out with her faith costume and done the film. the only things missing are the tattoos.)
basically, this tightly little film has one plot: hicks hunt people.
so, then, why does it work?
well, the first reason would have to be the hicks. inbred, with the vocal ability of someone repeatedly punched in the throat, and an array of nasty looking weapons from axes and arrows and machetes, they hunt and terrorise the small band of people across the forest. which leads into the second reason the film works: the locale. dense, the film runs through shadows and greens, and then plunges into blacks, with a funky hick cottage where people are... well, dealt with, and a watchtower that works surprisingly well. the forest is nothing special, i guess, when you get down to it, but it's used effectively throughout.
and then there is eliza and desmond, who are never less than competent throughout. so they have no characters outside the moment, but they know this, and we are, in fact, spared a pointless romance with the two. in what i consider the films greatest strength, is that eliza and desmond are equal. okay, yes, desmond does come in to save eliza when she is chained to the bed (note: this too is a plus for the film), but someone had to do it, and i guess a bunch of deformed inbred mountain men pawing over the golden haired boy would appeal to some (and it would certainly make me laugh) but it isn't what the seventies horror genre is built upon.
and wrong turn never lets itself think it is anything but a seventies horror flick.
this film, you know, isn't something i recommend like confessions of a dangerous mind, but it's never less than competent. perhaps, if you've a huge knowledge of old slasher inbred mountain men films, it is less than competent. but it's just under an hour and a half, it is what it is, and at the end of the session, i'd had an enjoyable time. but then maybe i was always going to have a good time in a film that offered me inbred, deformed hicks and eliza dushku tied to a bed with a gag in her mouth, lookin' all sexy and the like.
'cause her mouth sure is purty.