17th Feb2021

‘Wrong Turn (2021)’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Matthew Modine, Emma Dumont, Charlotte Vega, Daisy Head, Bill Sage, Adain Bradley | Written by Alan B. McElroy | Directed by Mike P. Nelson

I never thought I would miss those inbred hillbilly freaks as much as I do right now…

Back in 2003, director Rob Schmidt and writer Alan B. McElroy dropped Wrong Turn on the world and took the “lost in the woods” horror drama to the next level. Introducing us to Three-Fingers, Saw-Tooth and One-Eye, West Virginia’s newest favorite family. Wrong Turn would also cement Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington as would be stars. I, honestly, bloody love that first movie and found it genuinely scary at the time, yeah it spawned about seven hundred and thirty three sequels that all pretty much sucked in comparison but they have remained a guilty pleasure in part due to my love of that original movie.

Then… all of a sudden, out of nowhere like a top notch RKO, a new Wrong Turn is announced but the title isn’t followed by a number,. No this is a reboot/remake/refresh or whatever you want to call it. I will hold my hands up and say I can’t say I was overly excited BUT we have the original screenwriter back and one of the leads is only Matthew… freaking… Modine! Let’s see if the Wrong Turn reboot was the right move…

Jen (Charlotte Vega) and her friends are going on a hiking trip in the Appalachian mountains. After being warned not to head up the trail by some of the slightly sketchy locals, they head up anyway because they are dumbasses and the plot demands it. A short while later the group begin to realize that not only are they completely lost but also they start to feel like someone is out there in the woods. After a freak “Accident” kills one of the group the survivors all must fight for survival or succumb to the wills of the mountain. Fearing for his daughter, Scott (Modine) makes his way to the town and begins his search for Jen and her friends but what he finds is more than he bargained for.

I am sat here left to wonder whether or not this movie started as a Wrong Turn movie or if it is another in a long line of movies that just have the name branded over them to peak a certain groups interest. I think Cloverfield would be the perfect example off the top of my head. Yes we have the original screenwriter back in the saddle but honestly, other than that, this movie has very little to do with the franchise. HOWEVER this may not be the worst thing in the world!

We have a pretty damn strong cast for this one with Charlotte Vega propping the movie up as the strong-willed female lead. Equal parts damsel-in-distress and absolute bad-ass, I was able to really get into this performance. I really liked the rest of her group of dead meats… sorry friends with Adain Bradley pulling his weight too. It’s always great to see Matthew Modine on screen in the 2020s since his career resurgence off the back of Stranger Things [he’s great in his small role in Breaking News in Yuba County too – Phil] and to be fair he ain’t exactly phoning it in here.

Personally I was totally thrown off to begin with because this iteration of Wrong Turn wasn’t the version of the franchise I had come to love but once you realize this and let the movie breathe as its own thing, that’s when it becomes super enjoyable. Not so much packed with the franchises typical gore factor but instead an extremely intriguing, interesting, psychological thriller that is never really what you think it is. I could see this having been a great direction for the franchise if we hadn’t already had 5/6 sequels establishing the formula and this had been the 2nd movie in a back woods universe… but we did have those movies so this unfortunately screams “name grab!”

This can easily be seen as a nit pick though because I really enjoyed Wrong Turn for what it was and I was entertained throughout. I really like the idea of the “Foundation” which was the community of folks living up in the woods and Bill Sage as their leader was captivating and was a damn charismatic antagonist.

This is a really tricky one for sure because for the most part I loved Wrong Turn and thought it was a solid, tight, horror/thriller that is absolutely worth your time but I really wanted that axe-wielding inbred maniac from the original to pop up and scare the bejesus out of me. You know what, this is STILL a strong well made movie I just feel a little duped with the name!

**** 4/5

Signature Entertainment presents Wrong Turn (2021) UK Home Premiere on Digital Platforms 26th February and Blu-Ray & DVD 3rd May… And do yourself a favor and watch the end credits all the way through!


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