Wrong Turn (R)
20th Century Studios; Constantin Film; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu
Caution: some spoilers.
This came out in 2003, but I didn't see it until 2017. It's something I've wanted to see all these years, basically because it stars Eliza Dushku. But when I finally got it on DVD, I found out it had a few other familiar actors. Also by the time I saw it, there were five other movies in the series (including sequels and prequels). I actually got a set of the first three movies, and at this point I find it unlikely that I'll bother watching more than those three, but time will tell. Anyway, I guess it wasn't particularly well received, but I thought it was okay. I mean, I don't know a lot about slasher films, and I'm not a big fan of the genre, but based on what little I know, this didn't seem any worse to me than anything else in the genre; I mean, aside from some movies that have more humor and clever writing, like Kevin Williamson's movies. (And I'm sure it must be better than lots of low-budget slasher films.) But I suppose horror fans would know more than I do, and have a more nuanced ability to discern the relative merits of different films. I dunno.
Anyway, I should mention that the movie is set in a remote area of West Virginia. It begins with a pre-opening credits scene of a couple of rock-climbers, who are both killed. Then the opening credits are set over various documents about mutant "mountain people," or whatever. In the first main scene, there's a guy named Chris Flynn, who is driving to some kind of business meeting. (I guess he's a medical student.) But the highway is blocked by an accident, so he looks for an alternate route. The one he finds is a dirt road through the woods. He doesn't pay much attention to what he's doing, and winds up crashing into a car that had been stopped by barbed wire in the road. The occupants of that car include a young woman named Jessie (Dushku) and her friends, who had decided to take her on a camping trip to help her get over being dumped by her boyfriend. Those friends include Carly, her fiance Scott (Jeremy Sisto), Evan, and his girlfriend Francine (Lindy Booth). With both vehicles wrecked, Chris, Jessie, Carly, and Scott go off walking along the road, hoping to find help. They leave Evan and Francine behind, and it's not long before the two of them are killed.
The others eventually find a house that is just... disgusting and creepy in every way, and seems uninhabitable. But before they can leave, the inhabitants- three mutant men- show up (along with Francine's corpse). (Wikipedia tells me that they're called "Three Finger" [Julian Richings], "Saw Tooth," and "One Eye," though those are not names ever heard in the movie.) So, Chris, Jessie, Carly, and Scott all hide, and later try to sneak out of the house, but end up being pursued by the mutants. I gotta say, I was kind of curious about these killers. They've obviously been doing this for a long time, killed a lot of people who've gotten lost. According to Wikipedia they're cannibals, though I don't think I saw anything in the film that necessarily suggested they eat their victims. Maybe it's implied, and maybe it's more firmly established in sequels, I dunno. I don't think it's really important; dead is dead. But what I wonder about is how different are they from "normal" humans? Certainly they look different, and I don't think I ever heard anything from them that was intelligible speech. But they can drive vehicles, use tools, and so forth. In a lot of ways they seem like primitive hunters, like Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons, or something. Partly I wondered what such primitive proto-humans would be capable of if they discovered modern human technology, but had no instruction in how to use it. And partly I wondered what sort of upbringing or education these people actually had. And partly I wondered if they even recognized their victims as members of their own species. Or... well, lots of vague thoughts went through my mind, but of course none of that's really important. This isn't a film about cultural anthropology, or something. The point is to sit back, wait and see which characters die and which, if any, make it out alive. Well, I've already told you about two characters that died. I won't spoil any more specific details, though I will say Evan and Francine weren't the only ones to die.
And, I dunno what else to tell you. It's a reasonably frightening and fairly gory movie (though certainly not one of the most frightening or gory horror movies out there). Oh, also I wanted to say that early in the movie, there was a song, which I'm not sure if it was actually playing on Chris's car radio or just background music in the movie. But the lyrics included the word "Halloween," so I was interested in that, and looked up the soundtrack. Well, the song isn't on the soundtrack, but it is listed in the movie's end credits. It's "Halloween," by The Dream Syndicate. So I listened to the whole thing on YouTube, and I'm not sure it's something I feel the need to hear again. I mean, it's okay, but not super memorable (though I'm always-ish on the lookout for Halloween-themed songs). And... I doubt any other songs from the movie, whether on the soundtrack or not, are of any interest to me. Um... I guess I should also say there's a bonus scene just a little way into the end credits. And now I really don't know what else to tell you, except I'm glad to have finally seen the movie.