When you sit down to view this latest installment from the Wrong Turn franchise, expecting mutant hillbillies, then you are sadly mistaken, I was a little disappointed, but then I looked upon it in the same vein as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, how so, allow me a moment to explain. Everyone who first saw part 3, in 1982, expected Michael Myers to stalk more teenagers, but shockingly he never showed, a major disappointment of then, this follows the same pattern, it is a different avenue in the Wrong Turn universe that harkens back to old horror cliches and tries to adjust itself into post political view of hypocrisy. It is noteworthy that over 15-years had passed since the survival-horror original Wrong Turn  directed by Rob Schmidt, which resulted with five sequels the last one in 2014, which assisted in aiding the new audiences in not having to know any backstory or character connections; hence a reboot works, with this possible stand-alone creation. Therefore, returning is the original screenwriter Alan B. Elroy (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers ) with director Mike P. Nelson (The Domestics ) worked together to pack a lot into a nearly 2-hour movie; that doesn’t retread similar territory as the franchise. This new turn enters into a social-political dynamic of which harbors some cinematic cliches and attempts to work concepts focused on the current climate of America polarized oppositions regarding two songs “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee)” and “This Land Is Your Land” in mind. There’s some graphic violence and just a hint of cannibalism, but also a subtle hint of theology of casting blindness on the guilty and thrown into the pit of darkness.
Since this movie was recently in theaters on highly limited run, and now emerging on VOD/DVD platforms, thanks to Saban Films, I shall overlook vast sections of the plot and avoid inconsistencies of the fuller storyline allowing viewers to discover it themselves. However I will provide some highlights to this movie, a group of friends of various backgrounds head to Virginia to hike along the Appalachian Trail, among those is a gay couple Luis (Adrian Favela) and Gary (Vardaan Arora), which a local B&B seems unhappy with them flaunting their love, then of course there’s obnoxious Adam (Dylan McTee (Midnighters )) an elitist and prejudice to locals and his girlfriend Milla (Emma Dumont (The Body Tree )), rounding out the group is the interracial couple Darius (Adain Bradley) and Jen (Charlotte Vega (The Lodgers )) who has inner strength but aimless in her life course. They all go hiking after a confrontational dinner in the local pub, that isn’t taking to kindly to their tone, but lays some key points later used in the story; they’re warned to stay to the trail, but this is horror, and we all know what happens. Their search for an old civil war fort leads them astray and begins a series of wrongful and deadly consequences.
Soon enough our inexperienced troop of hikers find themselves lost and unprepared for nature and the keepers of an ancestral homestead, one founded in 1859, two years before the Civil War, who saw how the nation was dividing itself, but call themselves The Foundation. They remain as an inclusive community with some refinements of the modern world, you’ll learn of them, if you closely look at their leader John Venable (Bill Sage (Fender Bender ) and his deadly daughter Edith (Daisy Head). As opposed to the hillbilly mutants of before, these individuals cloak their bodies with Ghillie suits and dead animal skull masks while speaking Nordic. After an accidental (yeah right) death a series of incidents occur, including ‘murder’ and resulting Darius providing the community with knowledge and Jen offering herself as breeding stock. We learn her father Scott (Matthew Modine (Altar )) is searching for her and leads him to the same place of her disappearance, encounters more cinema cliches involving police; but has a mixed encounter with Nate (Tim DeZarn (The Cabin in the Woods ), which leads to another subplot.
As earlier mentioned, there are horror cliches, a notable one, falls into the common trait of punishing immoral behavior while slasher fans know the rules of drugs, drinking and sex there’s one, which proceeds this and is never mentioned in the rules. It concerns the individuals that are generally noted as homosexual, they always need to have a violent demise, for the film ends, this was common back to Dracula’s Daughter  to that of The Haunting  and Dressed to Kill  to very recently with, It Chapter Two . Therefore, when Nelson describes the movie as presenting originality in many areas, this is not one of them. Aside from this aspect, one needs to acknowledge the worthy performance from Bill Sage as John, who shows both strength and sheer brutality, while his stature excludes diabolical intentions. As his words speak volumes the character Ruthie, who never utters a word sends powerful intentions with her looks alone. The overall movie has a quicken pace, and solid violence, aided by make-up artist makeup effects by Ryan Schaddelee (The Pale Door ).
Both McElroy and Nelson try to work several themes into their film, noting of outsiders infiltrating private communities’ themes that found in The Village , Midsommar  and extending The Hunt  and even The Purge . They attempt to stack the viewers against the outsiders and their hypocrisy in the form of classism and bigotry, however the actions of the opposition, known as The Foundation, reveals a deeper villainous barbaric behavior, blurring the divide between all parties involved. The horror savvy crowd, definitely will locate the scares before they arrive on the screen, including the ending sequence just think of Friday the 13th  and 47 Meters Down . As for those who are eager to walk this trail, it isn’t clearly marked and leads the viewers into terror and doom very easily.
- This land is their land
IMDb Rating: 5.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10
Wrong Turn