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Movie Review

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Directed by Joe Lynch (2007)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Oct 9 2007

When I first saw the original Wrong Turn, I didn't care for it. Over the years, I've had the chance to view it a couple more times and though I still don't have much fondness for it, it does have some effective sequences that elevate it above a lot of studio horror films. I'd place it squarely in the "entertaining" category. So I was sorta excited to check out Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, hoping it would be at least as entertaining as the first entry. Then I found it it centers around a reality show in the woods...

Yeah, that's Henry Rollins looking deep into the steel of that axe that has just been buried into a tree beside his head. Wrong Turn 2 revolves around a group of college kids who gather in the backwoods of West Virginia to film a reality show hosted by Rollins. The show is called "The Apocalypse", or something to that effect, and the gist is that the contestants divy up into teams and must survive without food or water in a "post-apocalyptic wasteland". Without retreading the rules of the game, it's essentially Survivor in the Alleghenies. The players are your typical horror stereotypes (slut, good girl, suicidal goth, jock, film geek, etc.) with minor variations on each theme and they head into the mountains, outfitted with cameras, in order to win $100,000. Little do they know that the hills are filled with inbred cannibals. Let the daylight horror begin!

Let's start out with the good stuff first. Henry Rollins is great and brings a lot of fun to the movie. It helps that Rollins is one of those guys that is just hard to dislike. He plays this beefed up ex-military dude that has a vague Dutch syndrome (after he puts on his camouflage, the score switches to a Terminator-like "bum bum bum" theme). At first, it looks like Rollins is just going to be relegated to the obligatory b-star cameo, but thankfully he shows up throughout the film to keep it interesting. The gore is pretty good and some of the kills are neat, although I was disappointed at the noticeable CGI in a few sequences.

The compliments end there, however. The cast includes Crystal Lowe, who seems to be vying for the title of the next big Scream Queen, and Texas Battle, both alums of Final Destination 3, as well as Erica Leerhsan (you're welcome, Steve), from Blair Witch 2 and the TCM remake. You would think that a cast of horror veterans would click. They don't. This cast has some awful chemistry and the poor writing/development of the characters means this film never rises above the same old shlock we're all used to seeing.

Another thing that works against the film is the inbred cannibals. They just don't look very horrific. The first film was buoyed by having Stan Winston create the disgusting effects. Every cannibal in part 2 looks like Eric Stoltz. I kept expecting to see Cher show up and console them. It also doesn't help that the entire film takes place during the daylight. It's clear that they had budget constraints, but it still hurts the overall feel of the film. There are also a lot of logic problems, such as why there is such a small crew on a reality show being watched by "30 million people", and why the cannibals didn't feel the need to knock off any of the people who were setting up all the cameras in the forest.

I'm probably being way too hard on Wrong Turn 2. It's flaws are glaring, but the presence of Rollins helps things considerably, and you do get to see Crystal Lowe take off her top (something every aspiring Scream Queen has gotta do, after all). Some of the gore is fun as well. I guess part of the problem is the story, which centers around a reality TV show. When you think of horror movies based on reality television, the negative thoughts of Halloween: Resurrection spring immediately to mind. In a way, Wrong Turn 2 is the same film, just in a different setting, with a rock star replacing a rap star. Of course, Henry Rollins is infinitely more awesome than Busta Rhymes. If you enjoyed the first Wrong Turn, you'll want to take a look at what Dead End has to offer. Just don't expect much.

p.s. I suppose The Running Man would be a good movie based on a reality TV program, though that's probably more sci-fi than horror.

3.5 / 10

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