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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Additional footage - Waterfall sequence
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Rob Schmidt, Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington
  • 4 Featurette - The Making of Wrong Turn, Stan Winston Monster Mogul, Eliza Dushku: Babe In The Woods, Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn
  • Animated menus
  • Outtakes - Francine Gets Killed

Wrong Turn

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 81 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

For a first major feature film, director Rob Schmidt has carefully constructed a true horror vehicle reminiscent of straightforward horror classics of the '70s. A simple storyline of people far from help pursued by unimaginable evil and fighting for survival is what we get, and that’s really all we need in this stylish and sleek vehicle from earlier this year. More than a tip o’ the cap goes to films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and The Last House on the Left, taking us back to a simpler era of splatter/horror. Happily devoid of the cynical or sarcastic teens that we see in the Scream series, there are mostly capable performances here from the leads.

It all goes wrong here when Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) takes a (you guessed it) wrong turn off a backwoods highway and ends up on Bear Mountain Road, an unsealed path through the deep woods. He crashes hard into a stranded group of teens who have had their car ambushed and they split up (rookie mistake in a horror film...) to find help. Soon, they discover a ghoulish mountain home replete with every ghastly offcut you could imagine and are trapped as the owners come home. There then begins the pursuit as these teens attempt to escape the horrors, even as they start losing people along the way.

"I need to remind you of a little film called Deliverance..."

With clean references to films like Deliverance and visual guidance from the incredible Stan Winston, the film brings the horror quite effectively into our living rooms, with perfectly grisly visuals. Using the bloodletting, but not allowing it to overpower or be dealt with unrealistically, Schmidt has created a by-the-numbers horror film with some unusual angles thrown in for interest. While some of the next moves are all too predictable, the film utilises some extraordinary sequences that border on action film material. A pursuit high among the boughs of pine trees, for example, has been shot cleverly bringing something new to the table in a flooded marketplace of seen-that-before.

  Video
Contract

Magnificent visuals of this still warm from the cinema release do the film a great justice on DVD. Delivered in 16:9 anamorphic 1.85:1, the print is artefact-free and razor sharp. Blacks are great and shadow detail is mostly apparent, save for selected instances of night shots where it is a bit murky. However, there is little need for detail in these scenes as they encompass the pursuit and not the background forest by night.

Flesh tones are even and realistic and the colour palette is beautiful. Rich in the earth tones and vibrant greens of the forest, the scene is set perfectly and fairly well lit. Perhaps the vision is even too clear, as we can clearly see the pulse in a dead girl’s neck from 30:20-26. However, I’d rather have too clear than grubby. Some nice forest surround shots are well shot and even some of the CG backgrounds, while being pickable, are still pretty good looking. Whilst on the subject, the computer effects have been used well, resisting the temptation to go full-on and splatter everything in sight, but rather opting for a modest approach that gets its point across without overdoing it.

  Audio
Contract

A choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo is thoughtfully granted here, with the 5.1 outfit being naturally the better of the two. This provides some delicious forest noises surrounding us in the first half when the adversaries are still hidden in the foliage, and fills out the musical accompaniment to the adrenalin shockers later on. Sharp and cleanly delivered too, without any static or white noise behind it drops us right smack in the forest with the good guys, surrounded by hillbillies. Yahoo!

Some sweet little sound effects add dynamite to the impact of the film as well, with some hefty wet thunks and sloppy bloodletting. There are occasional instances of stock effects in explosions and buzzing flies, but these are slight and add dramatic emphasis, so that’s okay. Musically, the film has been scored by Elia Cmiral and is effectively tension building throughout. Plenty of orchestral moments add a lyrical bent to the bizarre happenings that suits the storyline in the same way complementary colours work well together. An all round killer sound delivery really works for the visuals without overpowering and adds real thrust to the overall feature.

  Extras
Contract

It’s a bit of a boomtown at first glance, but the thrill peters out a bit as we get through them. Firstly, a nice animated menu opens proceedings and is redolent of the menus for other slick horror DVDs like From Hell and Red Dragon. The chapters menu deserves an extra wink here as its very nicely accomplished, regardless of the fact we only get 12 chapters.

The audio commentary by director Schmidt and actors Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington is among those worthy enough of inclusion on a film. However, the authoring error of calling Desmond Harrington Rob Harrington on the menu is unforgiveable, regardless of anyone's station. That's what proofreaders are for.
Anyhow, these three speak about the film, their experiences etc. with Schmidt leading the procession technically. Dushku is a little above her role, but Harrington is the designated funny one with some genuine humourous moments coming from him. There are some product placements within this bit though, so try and ignore them.

The trailer swings by next and is in un-enhanced 1.85:1. It's the usual fare here, running for 2:11. Four featurettes follow, but these are all tiny and should have been compressed into one. As it is they repeat bits across several of them anyway. The first is The Making of Wrong Turn and is a weak-arse TV spot P.O.S. really. Best ignored for its generous 4:03.

Second is Stan Winston: Monster Mogul, an interesting auto-bio from Stan himself. This is a sort of filmography of his, though it does feature some nice behind the scenes stuff in his workshop. Running in 4:3, this is only an unfortunate 4:40 long.

Eliza Dushku: ‘Babe in the Woods’ is an embarrassing and useless promo piece backpatting Ms Dushku. Thankfully it's only 3:42 long.

Finally, our fourth piece, Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn runs for a grand 9:25 and repeats itself a little from the earlier vignettes. There is some cool film magic revealed, however, so this is worth the look.

What else? There’s an extended waterfall sequence that is timecoded and in un-enhanced 1.85:1. It is also poorly rendered and gives more story of why the kids are in the forest in the first place. Then some kissing. This goes for 3:03.

Lastly, a truly boring piece of crap, outtakes. Francine Gets Killed is timecoded and runs for 3:47. This features around 15 or more takes of, well, Francine getting killed. And it’s boring.

All up, the featurettes are much ado about nothing and have been made concurrently by the same house. One bigger one without repeated soundbites would have been nicer. The extra sequences are practically worthless, so the only real thing going for this is the audio commentary, which does have its moments.

  Overall  
Contract

Whilst being a horror film with homages to other works, this isn’t bogged down in them thankfully, and stands alone as a horror piece very well. Whilst some performances are a little lacking, this is only inexperience and the overall film eclipses even those. A well made first effort from the young director will no doubt secure him more similar vehicles in future and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Splatter junkies will like the mostly real effects, with CG enhancement working well to complement the horror, rather than overshadowing it into disbelief. Anyone looking for a nice relaxed evening in front of the teev with tea and chockies probably shouldn’t use this for that calm atmosphere, however, as the tension builds very swiftly and hangs on for the duration of the film. The horror film, while not coming of age here, is still treated with some respect and the results are evident.


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      And I quote...
    "The horror film, while not coming of age here, is still treated with some respect and the results are evident."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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