Movie Marathon: ‘Wrong Turn 2’

At this point I have some trepidation about continue this marathon for another five movies. ‘Beige’ isn’t something I can spin into six reviews. Hopefully the second movie can provide this franchise with a unique selling point.

Movie: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Released: 2007

Director: Joe Lynch

Cast: Erica Leerhsen, Henry Rollins, Texas Battle, Aleksa Palladino, Daniella Alonso, Steve Braun, Wayne Johnson

Plot: A dysfunctional group head out to the West Virginian wilderness to film a survivalist reality show and wind up crossing paths with the gang of cannibals.

Review: One thing becomes clear immediately: this movie reveals a major drop is budget and quality. I’ll give it this though – this movie has more of an identity than the first one. Not a good identity, but at least memorable. Our characters are more obnoxious and the cannibals more cartoonish, giving us pretty shameless trash fire of entertainment.

We open with a wannabe Paris Hilton type celebrity driving out to the woods only to be ambushed by our maniacs. They chop her down the middle, in a surprisingly gory moments, but the budget must’ve run out there. When the cannibals drag away the body parts there’s no blood to be seen. We then jump to the rest of our characters, including a pretentious director, a military type host (Rollins) and a typical group of vapid, sexist, manipulative, cheating contestants. It’s a relief when the family turn up so someone can shut them up. This is basically the plot, there’s no-one to pin your hopes on. In the previous film the cannibals took their design from medical journals. Now they seem to be modelled on Cabbage Patch Dolls.

Whilst the characters in the first movie elicited no emotional response as a viewer, the second movie gives us characters to hate. Each character gets set up as one bland stereotype, only to be revealed to have another ‘layer’ underneath. There’s a football jock who has feelings and stuff. There’s a tough military woman who’s also a lesbian. It’s real deep, you guys. The only character who doesn’t get any further development is the slutty girl. I guess that’s just unforgivable by the standards of these writers, these artists of the human condition.

There’s a moment where it looks like we’re going to explore the incest aspect of the mountain cannibals, but the story thread is quickly dropped and we need speak of it no further.

At one point early in the movie, Henry Rollins as an expert survivalist reality TV host gets snatched by the family. I thought this was the end of the character. He’s a stunt cast extended cameo set up as the ultimate badass who gets taken out early to establish the threat. Later on down the line he returns and goes John Rambo on everyone. I can’t help but feel this is Rollins pushing for a bigger, more badass role like Busta Rhymes in Halloween Resurrection, or if a starstruck director went off book.

The ridiculousness of this film continues into a full-blown rip-off dinner scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I can’t imagine what compelled them to do this (the same logic that sees one cameraman filming a reality TV show), because that insane scene was the product of the nasty filming conditions. It’s an unpleasant scene to sit through, but winds up more forgettable than anything else.

The only other noteworthy aspect of this movie is the expansion of the lore to include radioactive waste mutating the mountain people. This doesn’t go anywhere.

It may be more entertaining than the first movie but it is stupid. I’m more interested in seeing where this is going.

Rating: FOUR out of TEN