[review by Justin Kerswell]
How do you top a film which had already pretty much exhausted well-worn mutant homicidal hill-billy clichés? Well, you do as the makers of WRONG TURN 2 do and turn the clichés, the gore and the ante up to its maximum setting and throw so much over the top grue at the audience that you hope they won't notice that this movie doesn't have an original thought in its blood soaked little head. Still, there's still much fun to be had back up Slashback Mountain.
Even the setup is unoriginal, borrowing HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION's (2002) reality TV show as the central plot device. In another nod to fantastic Japanese survival thriller par excellence BATTLE ROYALE (2000) (even one of the characters here is wearing a t-shirt with that movie's logo), a group of characters are brought together in the wilds of West Virginia to take part in a survival show with the concept that they are the last people alive after the apocalypse. As usual, the ragtag characters aren't exactly painted with a subtle brush: there's the moody lesbian army vet, Amber (Daniella Alonso); the grumpy vegan, Nina (Erica Leerhsen); the black jock, Jake (Texas Battle); the skateboarding, sex-obsessed jerk, Jonesy (Steve Braun); the trollop who uses the casting couch to get what she wants, Elena (Crystal Lowe); and bratty TV-reality star Kimberly (Kimberly Caldwell). Orchestrating the events as the show's host is ex-army man, Dale (agit punker Henry Rollins), as well as producer Matthew (Matthew Currie Holmes) and his kind-hearted but mousy girlfriend, Mara (Aleksa Palladino).
When one of the group doesn't turn up (meeting an end at the hands of the movie's new family of man-eating mutants that gives a whole new meaning to doing the splits!), Mara is persuaded to take their place against her better judgement. Splitting up into groups of two, the contestants head off into the woods in search of food; head cameras recording their every move. Their mission is to be the last person standing, but none of them realise that this will be taken quite literally.
As already stated, there's nothing new here. WRONG TURN (2003) was itself a throwback to the backwoods slashers from the early 80s, as well as those most famous of rural retards, the Sawyer clan in Tobe Hooper's original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974). WRONG TURN 2 continues to, er, cannibalise not only the first film but also all the films that inspired it. What sets the sequel apart is that it's just more – more guts and more mutants. Following the rules of sequels we get what made the first successful, but just turned up to the max. Seeing as the 'reveal' of the mutants was already done in the first film, despite this being a newer (and slightly less grotesque) bunch director Lynch keeps them in the shadows for only a blink of an eye.
WRONG TURN was gleefully gory – revelling in the kind of bloody fx that most early 80s slashers could only dream of (or dream of the censors allowing). Now, how times have changed. The sequel is very possibly one of the most over-the-top intestine swinging, blood splashing, body ripping mid-budget slasher extravaganzas I've ever seen. Literally, there are barrels of the red stuff on display here. With a mix of CGI and latex that Herschell Gordon Lewis would be using today if he could afford it, a victim is axed from above with such force that she's split from crown to lady garden, falling apart with a steaming pile of guts dropping onto the tarmac. Another is hacked across the back so savagely that her spine juts out; one gets an axe to the head; two others have their eyeballs simultaneously popped with arrows. And that's just for starters! The bloodshed is so unrelenting you'll either eventually find it funny or reach for the barf bag.
The only thing thicker that the red stuff in WRONG TURN 2 are the subgenre clichés. It approaches parody, but thank fully never tips over the edge (although the dinner scene lifted wholesale from TCM is nearly the straw that broke the camels back). Still, this blizzard of clichés also allows the film to slip some sidewinders in there (I would have never guessed the eventual survivors). Rollins – an odd choice for a film like this – also surprises with a powerhouse performance as a very pissed off and single minded hero.
The film does falter a bit during the first half hour, but once it gets on the well worn track of mutants hunting fit looking victims then there's no letting up. Backwoods slashers are usually entertaining, and this is no exception.
female:5 / male:8
1) Female split in two with axe
2) Male has throat slit and is scalped
3) Female axed in the head
4) Female slashed to death
5) Male killed with shotgun
6) Male blown apart with explosives
7) Male shot through the eye with an arrow
8) Female shot through the eye with an arrow
9) Male decapitated
10) Male killed with explosives
11) Male shot with arrows
12) Male falls into macerator
13) Female falls into macerator