If the 1974 horror classic “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” were re-created, director Rob Schmidt’s “Wrong Turn” would be the disappointing knockoff.
As if the previews are not misleading enough, audience members were offered barf bags with warning precautions at the media preview in case the gruesome scenes became too stomach-churning to handle. They definitely came in handy, when used as ammo to throw at the big screen.
“Wrong Turn” encompasses the typical horror flick formula – after medical student Chris (Desmond Harrington) stumbles upon a traffic jam on the West Virginia freeway, he decides to take a less-traveled route to make a job interview appointment.
Speeding down the dirt road, Chris’ Mustang convertible abruptly crashes into a parked SUV, whose tires have been blown out by a barbed-wire trap. There, Chris meets five friends – Jessie (Eliza Dushku), Evan (Kevin Zegers), Francine (Lindy Booth) and newly engaged couple Carly (Emanuelle Chriqui) and Scott (Jeremy Sisto).
Stranded in the middle of nowhere, the group attempts to hike out of the woods and find some form of civilization.
But Evan and Francine make their first horror movie mistake as they decide to stay back and smoke weed.
Within minutes of the movie opening, their doom is already guaranteed.
When the others stumble upon a deserted cabin, they find it ransacked with blood-drenched hunting weapons and refrigerators filled with jars of chopped-up human remains.
After finding a box full of barbed wire and horrendous souvenirs from the hunt such as doll heads, the foursome is sure that these mountain residents are responsible for the traps in the woods.
The rest of the film is a non-stop chase between the cabin owners (three deformed cannibals) and the young individuals.
Much like a cat-and-mouse chase, audience members find humor in the pursuit. Like most poor horror films, some of the characters deserve to be bait.
In “Wrong Turn,” Carly’s repeated loud shrieks of fear throughout the film only help the murderers find their prey.
Audience members may feel the need to stop the madness and kill off these characters themselves.
The only things “Wrong Turn” does well are its wonderful makeup and special effects.
Due to producer Stan Winston’s talent, the gruesome scenes prove to be horrific. Winston is well-known for his work in “Aliens,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Jurassic Park.”
The film definitely lacks the main ingredients for a successful horror movie: scream-intensity, suspense and, of course, originality.
Instead, the audience does not know who is more desperate: 20th Century Fox or the ill-advised actors who took these roles.
The misleading preview for this film promised more than was delivered.
Moviegoers interested in seeing “Wrong Turn” should rethink that plan and save their money for hopes of better horror films to come out in the summer.
“Wrong Turn” is currently in theaters.