Wrong Turn (2021) is a remake of the 2003 film of the same name that follows a group of 20-somethings that stumble off the beaten path in the Appalachian mountains and find themselves face-to-face with a secluded group of peoples deep within the woods.
Wrong Turn Review
This remake of the once-long-running franchise (six films ran in the original set from 2003 to 2014) follows only the bare bones of the initial plot piece of the original film, following the term "remake" in its truest form. This remake takes itself more seriously than perhaps even the original film in the franchise, whose proceeding sequels infamously became so ridiculous and goofy that it became a satire of its own franchise as it went along. So does the plot of a film that was essentially an homage to The Hills Have Eyes have legitimate room for a serious script? The answer is apparently yes.
Like the Child's Play remake (though even that film wasn't brave enough to break the almost-goofy mood of the original Child's Play franchise), this film took a chance by trying something fresh to the existing plot, or more so, the existing catalyst for the plot. This film, in fact, rebuilt so much content from scratch, it may not have needed the label of Wrong Turn beyond the recognizable branding.
The film chooses to tackle some political and moral philosophies along its incrementally gory path, while diving into the character of its two leads; a daughter who is in a fight for her life with the backwoods people and her father who is desperately searching for her. The dynamic adds a level of emotional depth that, while feeling out of place at times, adds a sincerity to a movie that the viewer would otherwise not expect to find.
It travels down this path of ethics discussion and the bonds between characters so far that there are good portions of this movie that don't even feel like horror. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone classify it as a gritty, violent, dark thriller. It has its moments of pure violence and one or two scenes that definitely belong in a horror movie, but the film also goes long periods of building its world and characters. It was an interesting way to tackle subject matter that, to this point, was in this weird notch between b-movie slasher and torture porn.
I found the production value to be much higher than I expected, and the script and acting to be the best in the franchise. It may be my mere surprise at the constant right turns the film takes in what you would expect to happen, but I found this film to actually be quite enjoyable and engaging. I was so curious as to what would happen next that I almost, almost forgot that it was a bit slow and full of itself sometimes. But because it was such a sharp change of pace and such a courageous ideation in plot and scene-by-scene, I was still involved with the film's progress right through the credits.
But seriously...those credits...this film might be some of the best use of the space during a credits roll I've ever seen. I mean, yeah, it's different and gives you something to watch while the credits stream up, but it's also arguably the best shot of the entire film.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 6/10