As far as the horror genre goes there are a great deal many films that get made, get released on DVD and are never to be heard from again. Other films lie in wait and spring upon unsuspecting viewers with sequels to films that weren’t all that good to begin with. This latter description applies to Wrong Turn, which somehow received a direct-to-video sequel four years after the first film debuted in theaters. With a rotating main cast and a forest full of hungry mutated cannibals, the Wrong Turn series has certainly not been one of the most popular series to come out as of late, but with a third film in the works, Fox no doubt saw this is an opportune time to release the first two films on Blu-ray.
Synopsis – Wrong Turn
An indescribable nightmare begins when a group of young friends is stranded on an isolated road deep in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, with no hope of rescue. Desperate and fearing for their lives, the horror surges as they find themselves relentlessly pursued by a force of evil beyond their imagination!
I’ll admit I was mildly curious about this first film, mainly just for Eliza Dushku though as you don’t see her in very many production. Granted I don’t actually even like her much as an actress, but she was still the only thing going into this film that I had any real idea of. Of course now that I’ve seen the film I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by the fact this series got a sequel (and another one soon coming). It looks good, has a solid classic horror setting and plenty of gruesome decapitations and dismemberments. The first Wrong Turn certainly doesn’t break any boundaries or try anything new, but those who just want some basic hack n’ slash violence won’t be too disappointed.
Honestly my enjoyment of these films wasn’t hindered by the acting or plot so much as the villains weren’t all that scary to me. Ok, so mutant cannibals hacking me to bits would certainly cause loss of bodily function control if I was met with it in real life, but as far as a horror film element goes…I don’t know, I didn’t find them particularly scary. Maybe because they’re just basically zombies that know how to use weapons? I don’t know, it’s just not a very engaging or scary premise to me, although the watchtower sequence was kind of entertaining, if only for the fact those cannibals tended to be everywhere they looked (the one in the tree was a nice touch).
Overall this now six year old film really doesn’t amaze me in any particular way; it had its moments to be sure, but as a story it just didn’t work for me. Plot aside, however, there are some solid gruesome visuals to behold, so those looking to partake in some blood spray should be easily entertained.
Synopsis – Wrong Turn 2: Dead End
This chilling sequel to the surprise hit film returns to the woods of West Virginia; a backdrop for the new reality television show “The Apocalypse: Ultimate Survivalist.” As the contestants compete in various challenges to test their physical and mental prowess they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives as they are stalked and hunted by a family of mutant, inbred cannibals
Yes, we’re back in the same woods where people disappear and end up dead. Apparently local law enforcement doesn’t consider it a big deal (although the one cop we do see in this film gets shot in the head with an arrow, so maybe they just don’t all want to get killed) to actually go out and destroy all of the cannibal mutants…but we’ll let that slide. What’s kind of difficult to swallow, however, is that at the end of the first film all but one mutant supposedly died. We see him again in this film, of course, but there’s also a whole host of other mutants as well (and we even see one being born…and another masturbating…and then some incest later on, just to round things out). Maybe they weren’t all killed before or something? I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter.
This film has the same basic premise as the first film—a group of people go in the woods (this time for a reality show) and get hunted down by cannibals. The end result is the same too—cannibals get shot, blown up and chopped up, but of course the three-fingered one still lives because he’s the Boba Fett of the group or something. Whatever the reason, the film plays out predominantly the same way with the likeable members of the group surviving in the end. Just once I’d like to see a horror flick like this where the whores and major jerks of the group are the ones who survive (you can kill them in an after-credits epilogue if you want, just to make the audience feel better)…just to change things up.
Overall the two films are pretty standard fair when it comes to the genre. Some decent hack ‘n slash and a few jump moments, but overall there’s nothing too special about these films. Recommended if you enjoy the genre, but otherwise something you can easily stick with a Rental for.
Both films arrive on Blu-ray in Elite Blu-ray Eco cases with the original art that their DVD editions sported. There are no inserts inside the case and menus for the films are simple and easy to navigate.
Video for both films arrive with an AVC encoded transfer (@25mbps for the first and @24mbps for the second…although oddly the second film is the one on the 50gb Dual Layer disc…odd) and, as can be expected by a modernly produced set of films, that looks really good. The key thing to note about these transfers is the browns and greens and other earthy tones that make up the forest settings. Occasionally there’s the industrial area with a splash of color to pick out of the movies, but for the most part it’s the muddy and murky areas that really shine on the transfers (as odd as that sounds). Plenty of detail is squeezed out of each of the frames, from grass and dirt detail to just close up expressions on characters faces. There are some overly grainy/hazy moments that don’t look as good as the rest, but for the most part Fox has provided solid transfers for both films.
The same can be said about their audio transfers as well. Both sport a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that impresses. A lot of surround elements are heard, which is key in building up tension in a film that uses a forest as its primary setting for unleashing the horror seen in the film. Plenty of gushy and gruesome sound effects are heard with startling clarity as well as plenty of bass. The transfers won’t necessarily blow you away but they definitely aid in the enjoyment of the films.
The extras for the films are as follows (and identical to their previous DVD editions):
• Commentary by Rob Schmidt, Desmond Harrington and Eliza Dushku
• 4 Deleted Scenes
• Featurette: Making of Wrong Turn
• Eliza Dushku: Babe in the Woods
• Stan Winston Featurette
• Fresh Meat: The Wounds of Wrong Turn
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End
• Commentary by Director Joe Lynch and Actors Erica Leerhsen and Henry Rollins
• Commentary by Writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien
• More Blood, More Guts: The Making of Wrong Turn 2
• On Location with P-Nut
• Making Gore Look Good
The extras for both films are adequate and it’s really the commentaries that make any lasting impression. As are the films are solid outings for the genre, but if you’re like me and just can’t buy into the concept or get really invested in horror flicks of this type you may leave the films feeling disappointed. Still if you’re in the market for the flicks then these Blu’s are definitely solid transfers. As with the films themselves, Recommended if you enjoy the genre, but otherwise something you can easily stick with a Rental for.
Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End are now available on Blu-ray.