Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is clearly a product of Bizarro World. In our reality: straight-to-video sequels of movies that were only mediocre to begin with are not meant to be good. They arn’t even meant to be mediocre. But Wrong Turn 2 is good. In fact out of a rash of films trying to rekindle horror fans’ love of the “traditional” American slasher (films like the Adam Green’s Hatchet, The Hills Run Red, and various remakes ala Friday the 13th) Joe Lynch’s debut is probably the best.
I should probably give a caveat to my whole-hearted endorsement of this film right now: this movie is for a special kind of horror fan. This is for the kind of horror fan that scoffs at a PG-13 rating on a slasher film. The kind of person that doesn’t give a crap if it is physically possible to cut an American Idol runner-up in half with an axe…long ways (hint: It’s not). Joe Lynch made a movie for that guy who was once a kid who would read issues of Fangoria in his elementary school’s cafeteria, trying to gross-out all the girls. (Hmmm…that last one was specific, who would do such a thing?) So if you are not “that kind of person” don’t take my praise of Wrong Turn 2 as gospel…I’m not talking to you.
Wrong Turn 2 is Texas Chainsaw meets Just Before Dawn with a bit of newer films like Alexandre Aja’s remake of The Hills Have Eyes sprinkled over the top. I can define it as such because it wears its influences as a badge of honor, but don’t worry the film is not merely pastiche.
The slasher film has become America’s Kabuki. The plots and archetypes are so familiar to us that to try and turn them on their heads would be to betray the format entirely. What Lynch does so well with this film is that he takes these familiar elements and changes them ever so slightly. This is a hard concept for me to articulate but to illustrate:try and figure out who will be the last man or woman standing within the first half hour, bet you wont get it. The film does not stick slavishly to the normal “survivor girl” format that audiences have become so familiar with. This little change makes the film seem so much fresher while still providing the comfortable entertainment gorehounds crave.
The plot concerns the filming of a Survivor-like reality show pilot in the woods. Add to the hot young cast of the reality show the cannibal clan from the first film and you get the picture.
Lynch is an impressive hand behind the camera but the film is also chock full of other talent. The acting is not There Will Be Blood but it is lightyears removed from the standards that usually come attached to the “straight-to-disc” feature. Of special note in the cast is Henry Rollins (yeah, the spoken word/Black Flag guy) who is currently appearing on Sons of Anarchy. Rollins plays his character to the hilt and it really adds an extra layer to a film that probably would have been good enough without the extra help. Eagle-eared fans will also spot comedian Patton Oswalt in an audio-only cameo. The film also sports a score by Bear McCreary of Battlestar Galactica fame. The gore is top notch and copious.
This gem came out back in 2007, it garnered good buzz but Joe Lynch is only now in talks to make his second film. The disc includes some short behind the scenes stuff and a commentary with Lynch. It’s clear he knows his stuff inside and out when it comes to horror. Why ain’t this guy making more movies? Like I said….Bizzaro World.