Released: 26th January
Seen: 7th February
Have you ever heard the story of how Saw 2 came to be? After the monster success of the first Saw movie the producers were desperate for a second film but the original writers didn’t have the time to come up with a new script. While trying to think of what to do the producers happened upon a script that’d been sent to them by Darren Lynn Boseman that was called The Desperate. After reading it they realised that a few modifications to the script would make it fit in with the Saw franchise and that’s how we ended up with the Saw 2 film that we got. I bring this up because I am convinced that a similar situation happened here with Wrong Turn aka The Foundation.
Wrong Turn seemingly starts like a lot of other wrong turn movies, with a bunch of young teenagers going hiking in the Appalachian mountains and wandering off the marked trail because they know better than the trail markers who marked the trail they were supposed to stay on. Of course shortly after leaving the trail, that was clearly marked, they become lost and soon start setting off assorted traps that kill them in horrific violent ways. Turns out they stumbled upon the land of an ancient civilisation known as The Foundation, a group that predates the civil war which have found a way to be self-sustaining by hunting in the forest and protecting their land from invaders who threaten their early-colonial way of life.
Now, fans of the Wrong Turn series or indeed anyone remotely familiar with it read that description and went “Wait… where are the inbred cannibal monsters like One Eye, Saw Tooth, and Three Finger who are icons of this franchise?”. Well, bad news… they’re not in it. That’s right, this reboot of the Wrong Turn franchise removed the main antagonists and figureheads of the series which is like if you rebooted the Friday the 13th franchise and now it’s about a killer who wears a fencing mask and his name is Joshua. It’s just not the same franchise anymore. That’s what I mean by it feels like this is a The Desperate to Saw 2 scenario, It feels like the writer wrote a script called The Foundation but someone knew they couldn’t sell it to an audience so they changed a couple lines to imply that it’s related to the original series and voila, you’ve got a ‘reboot.’
As far as reboots go… well, this sucks. Sure there are some good moments, the practical gore effects are really good (though repetitive, this film seems to love the image of a crushed head and so it does it over and over again) and some of the traps that the main characters deal with are actually intense. I also greatly enjoy (and yes, I will point this out every time it happens until it stops feeling like a surprise) that there’s a gay couple in this film. Not even just implied, they hold hands and have conversations and show affection for each other. Yes, it’s silly that in 2021 that I have to praise that, but I do. Now would it be nice if one of the gays weren’t the first ones to die? Sure, but baby steps. Oh, this ends the part that I liked by the way.
The actual story itself is convoluted and stupid. So they have this colony of people who apparently don’t bother interacting with the outside world and live in the middle of the forest, but everyone also has perfectly styled facial hair like they’re getting ready for a 3pm job interview and it’s 1:50 so they need to be ready to head out the door which is weird because the colony looks like it’s been built out of sticks and the faeces of the people who constructed it. This colony of people are who our protagonists come up against and they try to have this moment of morality, how it’s bad to kill one of the people in this colony because they were trying to help… you know, the colony that set up traps all through the forest and by the time we meet all of them they have killed two of our protagonists. They try to morally grey area that bullshit and it’s laughable.
The reason they try to do the moral grey area is because our main character, Jen (Charlotte Vega) is basically defined by her inability to make a choice and we keep coming up against this throughout the film. This leads to her basically being a boring main character right up until the second we hit the climax and then she turns into Rambo… and I won’t lie, from that moment on the film becomes a lot more exciting because the main characters start doing things which is not something they do for the most part. For most of the film they’re either running, screaming or being impaled/squished and that’s it.
Wrong Turn just feels, for lack of a better word, wrong. It hardly has any fun moments and just feels like a completely different franchise than the one that we’re familiar with. This isn’t a reboot, reboots keep the original core concept intact but remove all the excess. I might not like the Friday or Nightmare reboots but at least both of those films didn’t inherently change the franchise to something unrecognisable. Even the Child’s Play reboot at least understood that the series was about a killer doll.
Wrong Turn just ignores that this series is about kids running into a bunch of inbred cannibals and does something completely different that doesn’t work. Maybe, MAYBE if you go in without expecting it to be like other Wrong Turn movies and can look past the stupid attempts to humanise the villains and can ignore the flawlessly styled hair of the mountain men then maybe you can get a little enjoyment out of this… but this won’t be the start of its own franchise, there’s not enough here to warrant that and considering the other films managed to make six entries out of “Incest cannibals kill campers” that’s saying a lot.