It’s 1974 and deep in the West Virginia wilderness, a family of inbred hillbilly cannibals are being held in an isolated asylum for the violent and mentally ill. The asylum soon becomes deserted when the inbred family escape and take sadistic and gratuitous revenge on their captors…. Decades later, a group of college students take a wrong turn and seek refuge in the now-abandoned asylum after a blizzard derails their plans for a weekend winter break. But when the students encounter the medical ward’s most frightening former patients, now fiendishly famished residents, their only choice is to fight back…or die trying.
I loved 2003′s Wrong Turn, helped in part by the appearance of Buffy co-star Eliza Dushku in the lead role. However I loved Wrong Turn 2: Dead End even more. A fact which I credit whole-heartedly to director Joe Lynch who brought a tongue-in-cheek angle to the sequel which made the sequel heaps more fun than its predecessor. It didn’t hurt that Henry Rollins was fantastic in the flick, relishing his role as ex-military officer turned reality TV presenter Dale Murphy. However I skipped the third film in the franchise having heard only bad things about it, so when I heard they were bringing back that films director Declan O’Brien for Wrong Turn 4 I didn’t have high hopes. I’m glad to say I was wrong.
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings sets its stall out early. From the gory prologue featuring the inbred family tearing apart (literally) the doctors and nurses who work at the asylum to the completely gratuitous couples sex scene, complete with lesbianism, copious amounts of nudity, and post-coitus douche-baggery (yes, that is a word). And what follows doesn’t really change that formula. Gore, nudity, sex, gore – it’s a viscious and bloody circle.
Complete with stupefyingly gory dismemberments, disembowelings and discombobulation, Wrong Turn 4 replaces any semblance of plot or story with gory set-pieces, much like the slasher movies of the 80s in fact. And its those slashers, and their desire to out-do one another in terms of OTT effects, that are the direct influence on this film – perhaps, if I’m not reading too much into it, there’s also a nod to the 80s in the appearance of a giant drill as one of the weapons of choice for the hillbillies. It instantly reminded me of the Slumber Party Massacre movies – movies which mixed sex and gore in much the same way as this film does.
Possibly one of the goriest films I’ve seen recently, Wrong Turn 4 relishes in the glory of gore – nowhere more than in the scene in which, and I quote, they made a “fucked up fondue” of one of the characters, slicing him up piece by piece and frying the flesh in a pan of oil before chomping down in a cannibalistic feast. Much like a lot of the derivative slashers that came before it there’s really no reason for the film to exist beyond the gore. – and I’m not saying that like its a bad thing!
That’s not to say they’re aren’t problems with the film, even for a cheesy slasher movie. After all, how the hell would hillbillies who’ve been trapped in an asylum since the 70s know how to ride snowmobiles? Then, of course, there’s the usual genre conceit of going back to find/help your friends – but that occurs in plenty of genre flick so that is a given these days. What did surprise about Wrong Turn 4 was the occasional flashes of “they are us” themes which, if they had been followed through more, would have raised the film above a lot of its peers. As it is, the film has a lot to say about the stupidity of people – in fact its stupidity that costs the lives of the films characters in some instances.
Despite being completely derivative, the film is also fun. A lot of fun. Whether its the gorehound in me or whether I was just in the right mood for the flick, I enjoyed the fourth film in the franchise a lot. A heck of a lot.
Filled with buckets, and I mean buckets, of blood, Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (it really lives up its name, believe me) shows at this years Frightfest the 13th in the Discovery Screen on Saturday 25th August at 11.35pm – a great midnight movie film in a great midnight movie slot – before being released on DVD on Monday August 27th courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
This was a Review by Phil at Blogomatic3000