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Thursday, February 25, 2021

WRONG TURN (2021 - Film Review)


Starring: Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Matthew Modine

Directed by: Mike P. Nelson


While not EXACTLY a reboot, Director Mike P. Nelson's 2021 take on the Wrong Turn franchise takes a different path in its story and intently brings a new vision to what audiences will ultimately see as refreshing...PERHAPS?

We've spanned between the years 2003 and 2021, and with 6 films under its belt, the "hillbillies on the hunt" universe rears its toothless faces towards us and drags the collective back into the deep woods of Virginia. It almost seems as what we've come to know about these killer rednecks is swerved to a deceptive extent, and what looks like a threat may not be what its cracked up to be - messin' with your minds!! The film drops Jen (Vega) and her band of pals into the heavy green of the Appalachian Mountain region for a little hiking trip, and they stumble over a border leading into land inhabited by a group known as "The Foundation." We're not talking about a clan of uneducated, sister-humpin' stiffs that have a bunch of axes to grind, no, no, no - this is a well-structured (and long-tendered) population of hermits who have eschewed the normality of everyday life and its problems, and deal with injustices on their own terms. As the day grows longer and our tempestuous band of friends detours themselves in the confusing coppice, they begin to find themselves under attack - but for what reason, and who will step up to save them?

Nelson's direction in this fresh restart is exactly that: fresh - however the presentation does have some lagging points, which seemed to be smack dab in the middle of the film. An ABUNDANCE of f-bombs (which seemed to be the base of our young characters' vocabularies) grew extremely tiring after the first 30-40 are littered in a short span, and let's not forget their winning personalities! I guess it makes it comprehensibly more feasible to warrant someone's imminent demise when they come off like a petulant and confrontational whiner...and it was on full display with this gang. Matthew Modine shines as Jen's protective papa (I'm not willing to admit that he's getting older), and he aids in the flow of the story, even when bouts of stagnancy begin to set in. Some of the kills were admirable in their brutality and execution, while (thanks to some heavy censoring, I'm sure) others were sadly cut away from too quickly. 

Overall, this isn't your 2003 Wrong Turn, and aside from some MUCH-NEEDED lopping off from the movie's runtime, this one should satiate gorehounds and horror fans alike - Mr. Nelson has taken an otherwise dried up exhibit and infused it with the power of rejuvenation - this is a one-timer for sure as far as this corpse is concerned, but there is promise glowing on the horizon if there happens to be a chance of continuation.

The film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD format, as well as numerous streaming opportunities.

FILM REVIEW: 3 out of 5

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