Wrong Turn (2021)

Directed by Mike P. Nelson [Other horror films: Summer School (2006), The Domestics (2018)]

Well, I had heard that this remake was quite different from the original, and boy, was it ever.

I thought there was a decent amount to like about Wrong Turn. Certainly there were problems – the film’s around an hour and 50 minutes, and it definitely feels like it at times. Many characters during the first third of the film make utterly idiotic decisions, something that also happens late into the movie with Cory Scott Allen’s character. Also, there’s a sequence during the finale that I disliked

Otherwise, though, I found the movie a pretty good experience.

There’s a bit to this one, given the length. The movie really feels like it has three separate parts, four, if you want to count the finale. It almost feels daunting at times, too, given the uncomfortable atmosphere during some of the scenes. The movie isn’t violent often, but when it veers that way, it can only increase the uneasiness one might feel while watching this.

I’m not entirely sure why they decided to create this film as a remake to Wrong Turn – elements are similar, I guess, though they randomly decide that Virginia is a more reasonable setting that West Virginia. It’s quite different though, and I suspect many who enjoy the Wrong Turn films might find the various alterations here somewhat difficult to swallow.

If I have one large problem with the movie, it’d be that I doubt how realistic some of the film is. There’s a small, secluded, separatist community in the film, one with rather a merciless and unbending moral code which applies even to outsiders, and while I can buy that perhaps this community can live side-by-side with the modern world, with little interaction, I have a harder time believing that, in the modern day, they would be able to get away with what they’re up to for long. It just takes a helicopter flying over their home, and it’s national news. In fact, I’d love a sequel in which the FBI swarm the community, and we get a Waco massacre situation.

Regardless of whether or not the community is realistic in the modern day, I was deeply interested in the foundation of this community, and the reason they separated themselves from the rest of society. I won’t spoil anything, but I personally thought it was a pretty cool idea, though it did lead to a somewhat predictable choice that Adain Bradley’s character makes.

And speaking of the cast, it’s pretty strong. The movie first focuses on six friends (Vardaan Arora, Charlotte Vega, Dylan McTee, Adrian Favela, Emma Dumont, and Adain Bradley), but really, out of these six, only Vega and Bradley are really important. I did sort of like Dumont’s (The Body Tree) character, but most of these individuals have obvious flaws, such as the aggression displayed by Dylan McTee’s (The Wind). Boy, did I feel bad for Adrian Favela’s character, though.

I can’t say Adain Bradley moved me much in any way, but I did find Charlotte Vega’s (The Lodgers) role quite strong. She did great, and had plenty of good moments throughout. Playing her father was Matthew Modine (47 Meters Down), who was great during all his scenes, and Tim DeZarn (The Cabin in the Woods and Grave Matters) had some layers to him. Bill Sage (American Psycho, Fender Bender, The Dinner Party, We Are What We Are, and Ascent to Hell) doesn’t play the nicest guy, but it was a pretty good performance.

Only a few other performances really made an impression. One of them was Cory Scott Allen, who unfortunately died December 13, 2021. I don’t think his character is used to great effect, but I liked the performance. Also, there’s Amy Warner, and again, I really think they could have done more with her character.

I mentioned briefly that there were a few violent scenes, and though they don’t pop up often, when they do, you notice. I think the most disturbing might revolve around burning people’s eyes out with a hot poker, but there was also someone who met the wrong end of a tree, and another who may have gotten their head bashed in. Other examples, such as people being stabbed or shot by arrows, aren’t usually graphic, but some scenes here are somewhat harrowing.

On the finale, while I mostly found it suitable, and in fact, I did love the final scene (which played as the credits began rolling, which I found a solid choice), there was a sequence which was purely a character’s imagination. It personally felt somewhat jarring, and I would have cut that. Otherwise, I dug the ending, especially with the slow rendition of “This Land Is Your Land”, performed by Ruby Modine (daughter of Matthew Modine, and also from Happy Death Day). It was a beautiful rendition, and I dug it’s inclusion.

Wrong Turn can be a challenging movie at times. I really wish it had been cut a little in places, as it’s not exactly approachable (nor do I find it quite as captivating as films like Apostle or The Wicker Man), but I did find it a good movie. Some scenes were creepy (such as the friends being stalked in the woods, along with the designs of the animal head costumes), the gore gruesome, and the ending actually decent. It won’t be for everyone, and it’s definitely different from the 2003 movie, but I think that this Wrong Turn works.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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