Wrong Turn (MA) - 110 minutes
Updated: Feb 7
Talk about the consequences of taking a wrong turn.
This movie amps that up and then some.
The horror thriller keeps on coming at you until after the final credits start rolling, so don’t walk out too soon.
Three young professional couples decide to take a hike in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, so they pack their belongings and off they head.
When they arrive in a backwater town, they are hardly welcomed by the locals. In fact, their reception is positively frosty.
An incident in a pub doesn’t aid the cause and before they set off they are warned not to deviate from the path.
Of course, they do and that’s when their real troubles begin.
They encounter a cruel and secretive mountain cult known as The Foundation – led by the imposing John Venable (Bill Sage) – that dates back generations.
Self-sufficient, its members live rudimentary lives.
They get around outside the walls of their enclosed compound in animal skins and skulls, looking particularly fearsome.
Anyone who crosses them faces swift and barbaric punishment.
So it is that the hikers have unknowingly begun a journey to hell and not all will come out alive.
When his daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega) doesn’t phone him or text him for six weeks, Scott (Matthew Modine), takes a drive to where she and the others were last seen.
He is summarily dismissed by the local sheriff and then, again, by townsfolk when he starts showing around Jen’s photo and asking questions.
But he won’t take “no” for an answer.
He, too, has no idea what he has walked into.
The back story, namely modern kids making their way to a remote town and being ill prepared for the fate that awaits them, even if that fate requires quite some leap of faith, is plausible.
This is a fresh take on the classic “lost in the woods” horror staple, which dates back to 2003 and spawned five sequels, the last in 2014.
I appreciated the creativity in the script by Alan McElroy – who also wrote the original at the start of the noughties – and the way the shocks were orchestrated by director Mike Nelson.
Scenes of torment, violence and gore are integral to the offering.
The acting, although hardly top shelf, gets the job done.
The star of the show, Jen, as played by Vega, is given room to grow as the story unfolds.
She is able to strike a balance between vulnerability, resolve and strength.
The creepy music by Stephen Lukach adds to the feeling of foreboding that permeates the picture.
Sure, it is far-fetched, but Wrong Turn keeps the audience on a knife’s edge, just like its characters.
Rated MA, it scores a 7 out of 10.