I must admit that I enjoy the WRONG TURN movies. I cannot believe that I saw the first one nine years ago on its first release and while that premiere film was along the lines of a more serious “killer in the woods” movie (it is very similar to Wes Craven’s far more depraved THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) though nowhere near as frightening), the follow-up, WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END, was made more tongue-in-cheek. I talked to director Joe Lynch about it at press time. I missed out on the third and fourth entries (which are both presumably in the same vein, pun intended of course) because…well, I honestly don’t have a good reason, so I have to catch up with those. WRONG TURN 5: BLOODLINES is the latest and probably won’t be the last, which is fine by me as they are an entertaining series in the genre (the title card is very clever).
Doug Bradley (HELLRAISER’s Pinhead) plays J. Odets Maynard, a complete creep and the head of three lunatic mountain men who stumble upon (what else?) a group of friends (Lita, Billy, Julian, Cruz, and Gus) who are in town for the 10th annual Mountain Man Music Festival on Halloween in the fictitious town of Fairlake, VA, founded in 1814 (according to legend, Hillbillies overran Fairlake three years later and wiped out the inhabitants; their bodies were never found).
Flash forward to 2012 and the first casualty is an annoying news reporter who goes out for a jog in the woods sporting earbuds (she’s just as dumb as an oblivious New York City streetwalker) and mistakes the killers for kids donning Halloween costumes.
The three guys and two girls crash their car due to a ruse instigated by Maynard and several of them end up in jail. Gus and Lita spend time at a motel until Gus is kidnapped and tied between two vehicles like Jennifer Jason Leigh in THE HITCHER (1986).
The situation grows dire and begins to turn into something out of John Carpenter’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976) as the cell phones go dead and the electricity is knocked out. The mountain men plan to break Maynard out of the jail while terrorizing the friends, going so far as to bury one of them up to their neck a la MOTEL HELL and running him over with a tractor; they use barbed wire to blow out the tires of a friend attempting to get help.
One of the mountain men laughs like a lunatic, and reminds me of the cackle of the Headless Horseman on my “Famous Ghost Stories” LP that I was given when I was seven (you can hear the laugh here at the 2:30 point into the 7:37 track).
If the film sounds like a pastiche of familiar over-the-top horror film kills, it probably is, but director Declan O’Brien (who has directed the last three films) keeps things moving and interesting, even though seasoned genre fans can see the ending from a mile away.
The DVD and Blu-ray will contain the following cleverly-titled extras:
“A Day in the Death”
Audio Commentary by director Declan O’Brien
The film can be ordered here at Amazon.com.