Wrong Turn 1-4 (2003-2011)

Wrong Turn DVD boxset

With Wrong Turn 5 due for release very soon, I decided to watch parts 1-4 in preparation. Rather than do individual reviews, I thought I would combine them all into one big post (which I now regret as this took me an eternity!) and here are my thoughts on the first 4 films.

Wrong Turn (2003)

Something strange is happening deep in the woods. But no one has lived to tell about it. Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington – ‘Dexter’) is on his way to an interview when he is faced with a huge backup in traffic. He makes a u-turn, taking a short cut to avoid the traffic. But he makes the biggest mistake of his life. This wrong turn may be the last turn he ever makes. After crashing the car into a group of young friends led by Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), an indescribable nightmare begins. Stranded on an isolated road deep in the woods, there seems to be no hope of rescue. When the friends encounter a group of monstrous mountain men with murder and mayhem on their mind, they must escape from a fate worse than death. As the grisly tension gathers in manic pace and shifts into high homicidal gear, only the strongest will survive.

Wrong turn is a very well done scary and creepy horror film. It’s always nice to watch something where you actually want these characters to make it out alive. Dushku is fantastic in her role as the strong female survivor, and again it’s a rare treat to get a lead that actually doesn’t do stupid stereotypical mistakes like most people in horror films do, that leaves us viewers screaming at the TV. Sure, there is nothing ground breaking on show here. We get some “Deliverance” references now and then, and it’s also very reminiscent of films such as a “Last House on the Left”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, and loads more. On this occasion though it doesn’t come across as a rip off from these movies, it’s definitely more of a homage to, and taking bits that worked from those movies and implementing them here.

Over the course of the movie, we never really see much of the clan chasing our innocent group, but when we do see them it shows how great the make up and costume props are – these hillbilly inbreds look very believable and scary, whilst also being excellent hunters. Which leads me onto the death scenes, which are a particular highlight in this franchise. The kills are very effective and absolutely gory too, so if you are a fan of brutal death scenes, you will almost definitely dig the deaths. Always unpredictable and different, using weapons that you could imagine people like this could get their hands on, just adds another positive rating to a very good film.

I loved Wrong Turn when I saw it years ago for the first time, and I still love it now even after several re-watches. It’s funny, violent, scary and full of suspense. Capped off with some great performances, Wrong Turn offers up a great time!

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

One Wrong Turn deserves another. Acclaimed director Joe Lynch paints the screen red in this jump-out-of-your-seat sequel to the popular horror hit. Starring Erica Leerhsen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and hardcore rock icon Henry Rollins (Feast), Wrong Turn 2 unleashes its deformed bunch of inbred cannibals on another set of unsuspecting individuals, resulting in a gory bloodbath. Six contestants led by the headstrong Nina Papas (Leerhsen) assemble in the desolate woodlands of West Virginia to take part in the latest US reality show. Over the next five days they must battle against the elements in a simulated wasteland to see who will emerge the ultimate survivor and pocket the $100,000 first prize. But the participants are soon fighting for survival in even deadlier game when they encounter a family of flesh-hungry mutants intent of having them for dinner…

Sequels are always a tricky thing to do well. 4 years after the original, we got Wrong Turn 2. This time a group of reality contestants are the victims to our inbred clan, and in a weird way this actually works really well! The best thing here is Henry Rollins – he is absolutely fantastic in this role, and as an ex-marine we finally have someone that can match the killers.

As this (like all the films aside from the original) went straight to DVD, I think the creators had a little more fun with their work, and started testing how far they could push the censors. The kill scenes are way more horrific here, and we also get nudity, sex and some mutant inbred sex for good measure………..

Having cameras set up around the woods was a clever plot device as this enabled us to see the mutants at work, but more importantly the contestants presumed everything was all part of a game – until it was too late that is! The cast were all pretty likeable, and gave strong performances. I have to admit it is pretty hard to predict who is going to survive or die, the writers did a great job with this! There are a few plot holes and cheesy lines here and there, sure, but who cares, this film isn’t aiming for any awards but just wants to deliver a good time, and I would say it succeeds.

Seeing as the original is very serious, eerie, and scary, the sequel tries to be quite the opposite – just a simple, hardcore, highly entertaining, no-brain, and brutal splatter movie which doesn’t take itself seriously. And it works, luckily for us, so if you enjoyed part 1 you will enjoy this!

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)

It’s hunting season in the deep back woods for Three Finger and his family of hideously deformed inbred cannibal hillbillies. The fight for survival is futile and each successive killing is more gruesome than the last as the cannibals relentlessly stalk a group of attractive young hikers and a group of escaped convicts after their bus crashes on a remote country road.

Click me to zoom in – perv! :)

Initially, I thought the plot was fairly well thought out and had the potential to work quite well. However, for me ultimately it didn’t work. I understand that this was a low-budget horror movie but it could have been done so much better. The casting of British actors in American parts didn’t help the film either. Britain’s very own Tamer Hassan often reveals his strong London accent. I actually quite like him, and thought he carried the film well as one of the prisoners, but there are too many negatives on show here and it seemed as though the franchise was just plodding along not offering anything new.

The amateurish, obvious computer effects completely ruin the majority of the kills. It’s also painfully obvious and laugh-out-loud funny that characters “driving” in one scene are being subject to some woeful rear-projection CGI as well. Very embarrassing to see. For the first time I actually hated an ending to a Wrong Turn film. Just nothing seemed to work here, such a shame after the heights the first two films hit.

Of course, there are a couple of good things. The kills as always were ingenious and bloody, and we got a nice couple of nods to the original film (the fire for example), but everything else led me to believe that this would be the last we would see of this franchise. How wrong I was……

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)

This chapter of Wrong Turn takes you to the most terrifying place of all – the bloody beginnings. An isolated sanatorium deep in the West Virginia wilderness is deserted after an inbred family of hillbilly cannibals escape and take revenge on their captors. Decades later, a group of college students seek refuge in the now-abandoned hospital after a blizzard derails their plans for a weekend winter break. But when the students encounter the medical ward’s most frightening former patients, their only choice is to fight back – or die trying.

Smaller budget = cast full of people we have never heard of, and the film takes place pretty much solely in one inside location. Not the best start, as for me Wrong Turn should be out in the woods where the cannibals roamed. Still, after a brief introduction to our cannibal friends, we have Wrong Turn 4, our first prequel, and despite all its flaws, it isn’t a bad movie. Sure, the acting isn’t great, the script is cheesy and we get some awful looking effects on some kills. BUT……..we get some more great kills, some funny moments and lots of attractive people to distract us, and for the first time in Wrong Turn history – lesbians! The film makers are pulling out all the stops to get people watching this.

Joking aside, there are a lot of questionable decisions made by the folks in this film. Whereas I stated that in parts 1 & 2, what worked so well was how believable some actions were, part 4 goes the opposite direction in that regard. The height of stupidity in this film occurs when the college kids manage to capture the hillbillies and have them locked in a jail cell. One of the guy’s throws kerosene everywhere and is set to burn the cannibals after what he has witnessed them do to his friends, but one of the girls puts a stop to it saying that it is immoral and that they shouldn’t sink to the hillbillies level. Try and guess what happens next?! Yep, they escape and the shit hits the fan.

I get the feeling that by this point the only redeeming qualities the later films have (aside from hot girls) is the variety and excellent kills that are displayed every now and again. Some look awful, but the majority are excellently done and it’s always impossible to know who is next. The ending to Wrong Turn 4 is at least better than part 3’s, and whilst not entirely an accurate depiction of believability (I’m guessing, never tried what happens to them at the end obviously!) it still delivered a shock and surprise which the others lacked.

I loved the idea of going back to the beginning and showing how these cannibals started out, and the scientific explanation was a nice move. Whilst not being in the same league as the first two, at least part 4 is miles ahead of part 3, and puts the franchise going back in the right direction. Let’s hope Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines which comes out in a few weeks continues the trend and takes the franchise forward in a good way.

In the next chilling chapter of Wrong Turn, a small West Virginia town is hosting the legendary Mountain Man Festival on Halloween, where throngs of costumed partygoers gather for a wild night of music and mischief. But an inbred family of hillbilly cannibals kill the fun when they trick and treat themselves to a group of visiting college students who are dying for a good time…

EDIT: My review for Wrong Turn 5 can be found HERE! (The film was surprisingly good!) :)


    1. Thanks buddy. Yeah definitely an acquired taste, but good fun if your OK with stuff like this. Definitely (the first 2 anyway) at the higher end of modern horror/slashers in my opinion.


  1. You write great reviews that leave me with a good idea if I want to watch the movie and why (or why not). You are also fair. It’s not common to find reviewers who don’t bring their personal prejudices to their work. Good show!


    1. Thanks Marilyn :)

      I always try to be fair. As I mentioned a few times in comments on my review before this, ‘Vinyan’, it’s tricky sometimes when I really don’t like something, but I always try to find at least something positive if it is there, or if not express why I don’t like it. It would be easy to just say ‘its rubbish, avoid!’ but then no one would read my stuff I guess as anyone can write that! Thanks for your comments, as always :)


  2. You beat me to it. I am actually dropping a 1-4 review on Saturday this week of this series. It seems like you got a little more enjoyment out of the sequels than I did. I think they got worse as they went along. Part 4 was almost hard to watch and I almost turned it off. I do love the original though. I remember renting it, watching it twice in one weekend, and then going out and buying it sometime after. I hope 5 is a step in the right direction. Who knows?

    Great reviews.


    1. Nice, look forward to seeing your thoughts. 3 & 4 weren’t great, but still better than some of the garbage I watch so maybe I’m just easily pleased – hot girls and great kills :)

      From what I have read on part 5, and after seeing the cast list, I already have my doubts…….but hey, would be great to be proved wrong!

      Cheers buddy.


  3. The first one was great, excellent script, believable characters, good suspense – after that it went on the fast track to downhill valley. The rest were numb in emotion, dumb in storyline and not worth any effort to see them. They do have some good kills though, I will give ’em that. I’d say, seek out the 1st, and if 2-5 are on scy-fy channel, fine, but don’t go out of your way to check them out. JMO :)


  4. I saw the first Wrong Turn when it was at the cinema – really enjoyed it and I have to say it spooked me for a while! Loved Eiza Dushku – loved her in Buffy too, one of my favourite TV series of all time and season three, where she took a huge part as Faith, was one of the strongest.

    Haven’t seen any more of the Wrong Turn series though – is it just me or does Wrong Turn 2 sound like a warped Hunger Games?!


  5. I liked wrong turn it wasnt predictable like many other films of this ilk. I have seen the second although cant really remember I had to look away a lot as i really get creeped out by the whole weird inbred killing people thing. I refuse to watch the hills have eyes II no mater how hard Tyson tries. Have no desire to watch the third film and seeing the pics you’ve put up havent changed my mind lol. It is interesting to see how the films have developed, I like the idea behind 4. Great idea covering all together.


  6. Awesome reviews, and I agree with you 100%. Parts 1, 2 & 4 were a helluva lot of fun for various reasons, and part 3 left me cold. For a horror franchise with an ever-shrinking budget 1 out of 4 really isn’t bad. Looking forward to Part 5 :)


  7. I watched the first one for the first time in years the other day. It still holds up really well (I felt positively decrepit when I realised it’s nearly 10 years old!) I agree that 2 is good, solid, gorey fun. Less said about 3 the better, I didn’t care for it at all. Haven’t seen 4 yet, when it comes on Netflix/Skyplayer I shall probably indulge. Great review(s)!


  8. I’ve just watched through these four films over the last couple days, inspired by this post (write-ups on my blog) and while I mostly agree with your take, I actually found number 2 was my favourite – number 1 was fine but was a bit too serious without the requisite scariness that makes that seriousness worthwhile, whereas 2 might have been silly but it was a lot of fun – the director was clearly enjoying himself! I also thought Henry Rollins was a much more interesting lead (in no. 2) than Dushku in the first; I really felt like she was just sleepwalking through the film.


    1. Nice one, always good to hear I inspired anything!! :)

      I’ll have to head over and read your thoughts.

      Rollins was excellent I agree, nice to see someone bringing the fight to them. 3 and 4 there was no one to root for I felt. Have you had chance to see part 5 yet?


      1. I’m actually in the middle of watching it right now! Will have a write-up today or tomorrow I expect.

        I agree on part 3 and 4, that hadn’t really occurred to me – part 4 was certainly a lot better than 3, but they definitely didn’t seem to have considered the need to develop a sympathetic protagonist. It was also very predictable who was going to make it out alive in 3 and 4, unlike part 2, which was impressively unpredictable.


        1. Agree with all that. I hope you felt like me that 5 was just so much better than 3 and 4. I feared the worst but was pleasantly surprised. And it had likeable characters :)


  9. Wrong Turn will forever remain the ‘worst film I’ve ever seen’…at my uni interview my tutor was asking us what are the best/worst films we’ve seen as an ice breaker and these were the first to come to mind as the worst! In fairness, I have seen worse for sure, but for some reason these sprung to mind.
    I’ve seen the first one a few times, it’s that jumped up little shit of a mutant (the one in the 3rd pic down) that kills me every time! I still need to watch 4 and 5…they’re decent entertainment if nothing else.
    Hilliside Cannibals is a similar/ funny one, I don’t recommend it in an ‘it’s really good’ kind of way, but if you haven’t seen it and ever get the chance to watch it (for free…don’t pay for it!) then do, it’s so bad it’s good(ish)


    1. They are very much my guilty pleasure. Twisted, dark and humorous, I always enjoy them. Thanks for the recommendation, ill have to look into it. Can’t beat a so bad it’s good film :)


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