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Wrong Turn

It's the last one you'll ever make.  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Wrong Turn

The woods aren’t the best place to be stranded. It’s a fact. Deliverance proved this only too well and no-one wants another encounter with the Blair Witch. So why do so many American teenagers seem to break down when taking a shortcut? Why take these shortcuts in the first place? Don’t they know there’re cannibalistic hillbillies around? Wrong Turn is essentially a straightforward teen horror which sees a group of characters  picked off one by one by some very unwelcoming and hungry ‘mountain men’.

The acting is believable, and for one of Dushku’s (Faith, from Buffy) first leads in a film, she carries it well. With unknown actors as her friends, there is a sense of realism. Any of them could be next, and any, or none, of them could survive. The mountain men are creepy and the costumes and make-up are effective. They also show signs of humanity and intelligence, making them a far more terrifying threat than any poorly constructed monster.

The situations are original and allow for real terror. The scene where the characters watch one of their friends being devoured is one of the most gruesome and gory scenes ever shown on the big screen. In this scene, the film does not cop-out but instead focuses on the event. Doing this, it effectively pronounces the very real threat in store for the other characters if they don’t escape; which other films in the genre generally shy away from. The watch tower scene in particular creates a genuine mix of anticipation and terror.    

The film is played very seriously by all involved: it is not out for laughs or comic moments, emphasising the danger. One of the greatest achievements of the film is that the characters are likeable and we can empathise with their situation. The only wrong turns this film holds are the ones the characters take which, of course, started when the first character suggests, ‘I think we should split up’. With twists, suspense, gore and fresh talent, this film should not be missed.

Phil Lurie

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)