WRONG TURN  (REVIEW)
Dir. Mike P. Nelson
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Friends hiking the Appalachian Trail are confronted by 'The Foundation', a community of people who have lived in the mountains for hundreds of years. Their savage lives are a contrast to the lives of those now lost in the woods and one mishap leads to brutality fans of the series have come to love.
There's blood and plenty of death to be found in the darkness of WRONG TURN 2021 however this really is a new beginning for the series in which the violence is ramped up and the body parts literally smashed to pieces.
The film seems to throw so much at the screen hoping everything will stick and in doing so creates a blended smoothie of other films that doesn't quite manage to stand on it's own two feet. The layers and deeper storyline really takes away from the sentiment of the WRONG TURN series and as such feels like it shares it's name alone. Even through the end credits, the story continues as if Nelson didn't know where to stop. At it's core, WRONG TURN 2021 is a cult movie, a civilisation living against an apocalyptic prophecy aware from the communes of normality. Fighting for their own survival against the outsiders and feeling their actions are right rather than senselessly killing as was the case in the original series.
The antagonists are much more sophisticated and even run their own courts, something we can't imagine Saw-Tooth and Three Finger being a part of. To it's credit, at least it's done something new but by doing so it feels so far removed it really isn't a WRONG TURN movie and will detract fans of the series by doing so. With an interesting tact for survival, the crew remain in the cult's company but inevitably fight to escape soon after. A perfect example of the film flitting between "moments" as they suddenly appear to be trained survivalists on escape and as such seems a weird contrast to the innocence bought on early with their first encounter with the Foundation.
This is much grittier than the previous entries and it's mythology is in a sense a reboot of the series rather than a continuation or spin-off. As a result, it feels like there are a series of films vying to break free. THE RITUAL, THE VILLAGE and THE DESCENT's inspiration can be seen all over this and their echoes show there's more to explore in each chapter of the film, unfortunately in their own right they make sense to the story's development, it really begins to drag and at nearly two hours, isn't the popcorn fodder fans of the series are used to.
The cast really hold this together, especially Bill Sage and Charlotte Vega as their own grudges against each other come to a brutal, if dreamlike sequence at the films climax.
For those looking for familiarity then you have taken a wrong turn but for those willing to give a new viewpoint to the series will find something to love here, it's just a shame that the film seems to rush through it's start, middle and end to provide a full package instead of pacing itself out a little longer across a series of more constrained yet developed movies.