22nd Aug2014

Frightfest 2014: ‘Wrong Turn 6′ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sadie Katz, Anthony Ilott, Aqueela Zoll, Rollo Skinner, Roxanne Pallett, Chris Jarvis, Luke Cousins, Rhys Coiro, Asen Asenov, Danko Jordanov, Billy Ashworth | Written by Frank H. Woodward | Directed by Valeri Milev

wrong-turn-6

Who knew that some 11 years after the series started Wrong Turn 6 would come along to cement the franchise as the modern successor to Tobe Hopper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yes the films started out (and some would say continued) as sub-par rip-offs of all the backwoods slashers that had come before it Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (to give the film it’s complete title) builds on what has come before, adding much-needed story and mythos to a series that – in its last two entries – were little more than effects show pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the previous two films, which themselves rebooted the franchise in a “different” direction but this sixth film (really, I’m saying this about the SIXTH film?) is a true reboot and one I think that, this time, actually can carry the series forward for even more straight to DVD outings.

Directed by series newcomer Valeri Milev (Code Red, Re-Kill) Wrong Turn 6 tells the story of Danny (Ilott), a former Wall Street banker recovering after a suicide attempt, who receives news that he is the inheritor of Hobb Springs, a forgotten resort deep in the West Virginia hills, which is currently being looked after under the watchful care of Jackson and Sally, a socially awkward couple who introduce Danny to the long lost family he’s never known… A clan by the name of Hillicker, a clan of hillbilly cannibals that have lived in the Appalachian hills, observing ancient traditions keeping the family strong if not necessarily pure. And they need Danny to bring the purity back to their inter-bred “family”.

It’s clear, once the film gets past it’s shock-tactic prologue (a superb gore-filled scene that would not have looked out of place in the last two OTT movies) that bringing a new director and new writer into the Wrong Turn family has done wonders for the franchise. Unlike Declan O’Brien who, by Wrong Turn 5, was so entrenched in the vagaries of the violence and gore of the series rather than the original story of a cannibalistic family, writer Frank H. Woodward and director Milev have decided to tell an actual story – one with a plot and actual character arcs (shocking I know for this franchise).

Of course that’s not to say Wrong Turn 6 isn’t without it’s gory set pieces. Besides the opening death which features a particularly gruesome mutilation by barbed wire (see the image above), the film also throws in a brutal death for actress Roxanne Pallet that made me cringe (what can I say, I have a particular issue with broken limbs), a nasty face-melting scene and the usual franchise-friendly deaths by axe and bow & arrow. For those that love the franchise for the gore you won’t be disappointed; for those that want a story to go with the gore, you won’t be disappointed.

For the first time, in a long time (probably since the first film which was built around a fresh-from-Buffy Eliza Dushku), the Wrong Turn films have a compelling lead in actor Anthony Ilott, making his film debut with a role that is utterly compelling. Starting with a quiet, understated performance and building to something that is, ultimately, completely deranged, Ilott makes for a superb central character and I’m excited to see what he could bring to his role in the hinted-at sequel.

Something of a surprise, Wrong Turn 6 is a refreshing new start to the series and one that has me intrigued to see more “adventures” of the revitalised hillbilly family, especially if Anthony Ilott is given free reign to let loose as the new patriarch of the Hillicker clan.

**** 4/5

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