Deliverance meets The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - - for teens? Not far off...
Six teens are lost in the West Virginia wilderness, a place where the hills have eyes. Mutant, sunken eyes, belonging to a family of cannibalistic `mountain men' who regard passing city-types as meals on wheels.
Sound familiar? You betcha, scribbler Alan B McElroy (Halloween 4) evoking the '70s fear of inbred country bumpkins. "I have to pee," whines one of the girls. "And I have to remind you of a little movie called Deliverance," comes the reply. A more pertinent reference point would have been The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, what with the grisly home decoration, Stan Winston's effects (Leatherface's mask, anyone?) and the mountain men's grunts and squeals. Hell, there's even a clearing stacked up with abandoned cars.
Wrong Turn is derivative, then, but kudos to helmer Rob Schmidt for keeping things tense. Unlike so many Hollywood gloss jobs that opt for slasher chic, this aims to truly unsettle, utilising handheld cameras, muddy earth tones and genuinely vicious deaths to get its malicious way. And while there's a smattering of bad dialogue and the obligatory emphasis on pert breasts straining in tiny tops, the two leads (Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku) emerge as intelligent, capable characters, consistently exhibiting resourcefulness to outwit their pursuers.