Directed by Rob Schmidt, starring Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto and Emmanuelle Chriqui.
If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise: a by-the-book horror the way they used to make them.
Like Freddy, Jason or Michael Myers, classic schlock seemingly refuses to die. 'Wrong Turn' is another in the long line of 'kids get lost in the woods' movies, and while it owes much to 'Deliverance' and an old 'X-Files' episode along the way, it's definitely more kitsch than 'Blair Witch'.
When Chris (Harrington) takes a short cut down a Virginia dirt road, he runs into a group of stranded campers. No bad thing, one might think, especially given that one of them is Jessie, played by 'Buffy's Eliza Dushku. But the campers quickly discover they have bigger worries than insect bites: inbred mountain men with a taste for blood and car sabotage.
It's not hard to guess where it goes, but then the fun of horror movies was never in their originality. And 'Wrong Turn' gleefully holds to the traditions that 'Scream' has long since debunked. The heroes walk directly into the scary-looking shack; they don't leave when they find it strewn with body parts and the 'sex always equals death' rule is strictly adhered to. You'll spend the whole film waiting for someone to say, "I'll be right back…"
On top of this is the usual collection of irritating characters you're eagerly waiting to see killed off (and in some suitably gruesome ways). Dushku is a likeable lead, although Harrington's performance is so wooden as to make Keanu look like one of the greats. If his 'hasta la vista'-style line at the close had any less emotion to it, he'd be classified as clinically dead.
Despite its determination to be as hackneyed as possible - or perhaps even because of it - 'Wrong Turn' is quite enjoyable. The clichés are comforting in their familiarity, and it has some interesting set-pieces, particularly one where the heroes are forced to witness the flaying of one of their comrades while hiding from the inbreds.
It's not going to go down in horror's honour role, but you'll get a few cheap thrills. While everything is, ironically, well signposted, you won't go too far wrong with this one.