|Title||:||Wrong Turn (2021)|
|Stars||:||Charlotte Vega, Matthew Modine, Emma Dumont, Bill Sage, Daisy Head, Adain Bradley, Tim DeZarn, Dylan McTee, Valerie Jane Parker, Adrian Favela, Daniel R. Hill|
|Overview||:||Wrong Turn (2021) : Jen and a group of friends set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course—and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life.|
It was okay. Glad it wasn't just a rehash of the original (which I have a little fondness for, as many issues that one had). This one seemed to have elements of The Witch to me and at least found it mildly entertaining and I liked Charlotte Vega in the lead. However, found the six main characters to be just dumb asses, but maybe that's the most realistic element, I can see 20-somethings going off-trail like that. Anyway, doubtful I'll ever watch (anytime soon) but probably worth a rental. **3.0/5**
I've long said that if you're going to bother remaking a film, it either needs to be a genuine continuation of the original, or a reboot, that offers a different spin on the same basic concepts. This film certainly falls into the latter category, but that's about the only thing it does right. Everything else, from writing to acting is an unbelievably cringey misfire, that manages to offend and belittle every demographic, in nearly equal doses. This isn't a film for right-wingers, and though it tries to be, it's not one for the left either. It's simply a catastrophic mess, that takes one of the most basic premises in horror history, and tries to use it for social commentary. I'm all well and good with politics in my cinema, even horror, and I'm a very left-leaning individual, but there's a way to imbue progressive values in a film, and a way not to. This is a masterclass on how not to. The basics for a decent horror flick were here. At it's core, the film's bones are still very much structured after the backwoods horror that inspired the original "Wrong Turn". Where this film differs is in it's treatment of the hillbillies themselves. There's no slobbering, deformed monster-men here. Instead, we're given a cult-like group, with a very nomadic culture. Supposedly the ancestors of a group that headed into the mountains during the Civil War, and intended to create a free, equal society based on primitivism. The film's horror elements are decent, especially the variety of deadly hunting traps littering the forest for wayward travelers to stumble into. These moments provide some memorable, sometimes shocking set-pieces, but that's the only positive beyond decent enough direction. Where the film goes wrong is in it's socio-political tones. Backwoods horror has long commented on the disparity between rural peoples and so-called "city slickers", but this film is overbearing in the heavy-handedness it uses to drive home this point, with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. The main characters are a group of clichés, each meant to tick off a minority status. I want to make it clear, I'm not saying that from a reactionary point of view, the characterizations are simply insulting and the dialogue sounds as if it was written by a bratty child. The characters are needlessly and viciously antagonistic to the rural peoples, before they even get on the mountain. Once they do reach the mountain, the film's "clever twist" becomes quickly apparent. Not long after the group begins wandering into the traps, it becomes apparent that the mountain dwellers are not trying to kill them. These kids are simply setting off hunting traps by being off the beaten path, but when they see the fiercely dressed cultists, speaking tongues, they assume they are in danger and thus attack. This is the film's un-subtle commentary on society's tendency to misunderstand other cultures and pre-judge based on appearance. All would be well and good, except that the cult themselves are no better than these bougie, ignorant city kids. They deal out their own twisted brand of "an eye for an eye" justice, and turn out to be nothing more than a hyper-traditionalist group of rapists, that may not be as benign as the film paints them in the middle segment. Still, there's hardly anyone to root for. It quickly becomes apparent that the cult are nothing but barbaric heathens, but the kids make so many poor choices and intentionally provoke violence instead of being mature adults. The film unironically could have ended well for everyone if certain characters had kept their mouths shut, but this is one of those scripts in which the entire plot hinges on everyone being as vapid as possible. In the end, despite it's pretensions to say something progressive, it ends up painting both left, right and everything in between as idiocy. Couple this with dialogue so poor that it evokes laughter, and this is a bizarre effort that I can't believe ever saw wide release. We can only hope this train-wreck doesn't somehow inspire a slew of increasingly lousy sequels as the original film did. Because this one already set the bar as low as possible.