Wrong Turn 2

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End first published by Film4, 4 Dec, 2007

Summary: Redneck cannibals and reality TV make for a bloody hybrid in this sequel, cooked up with outrageous élan by first-timer Joe Lynch.

Review: Introducing his feature debut Wrong Turn 2: Dead End to the Film4 FrightFest 2007 audience, director Joe Lynch expressed his delight that the film was having its world première in London since it had always been his intention to make ‘a true splatter film’ in the tradition of the great British ‘video nasty’. Also in keeping with that tradition, the film is being released straight-to-DVD, but fans of horror should not let this put them off. 

It may have the unenviable status of a cash-in sequel to Rob Schmidt’s so-so Seventies hillbilly horror homage Wrong Turn (2003), and it may have much plotting in common with Fox’s other, bigger-budgeted cannibal horror of 2007, The Hills Have Eyes 2, but the fact is that Wrong Turn 2 pisses all over its theatrical big brothers, thanks both to the infectious glee with which Lynch pushes his mutant material all the way up to eleven, and to the typically amped-up presence of Henry Rollins as retired Marine colonel Dale Murphy (originally Lynch had wanted “a Henry Rollins type” for Dale, and could not believe his luck when the real Rollins agreed to take the part).

Deep in the woods of West Virginia, Dale is hosting a reality TV pilot called Ultimate Survivalist. Courtesy of a literally side-splitting mutant encounter in the film’s prologue, the show’s only celebrity contestant (American Idol‘s Kimberley Cladwell as herself) has failed to turn up, but there are plenty of other fresh-faced competitors eager to win the cash prize for themselves, and they are largely played by the starring victims of other recent B-horrors. There is Erica Leehrsen from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Daniella Alonso from The Hills Have Eyes 2, Texas Battle from Final Destination 3, Aleksa Palladino from The Ring Two, Crystal Lowe from Black Christmas – and even the anthropophagous patriarch is played by Ken Kirzinger, who launched his career wearing a hockey mask in Freddy Vs. Jason.

Of course these twentysomethings will learn the hard way that there really are ‘post-apocalyptic crazies’ all round, determined to do unspeakable things (be they sexual or culinary) with all that nubile flesh. Of course the bikini-clad girl who is prepared to sleep with anyone to maximise her screen-time will end up part of some perverse sexual rôle-play not quite like what she had in mind. Of course the one who proclaims herself a strict vegan will be forced to bite off more than she would like to chew. Of course the notorious arrow-through-the-head sequence from the first Wrong Turn movie will be revisited and outdone. Of course there will be a finger-lickin’ reprise of the cannibal dinner scenes from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). And of course Henry Rollins will eventually get to kick some mutant ass commando-style, all the while delivering lines like: “Is that all you’ve got, bitch?”

Few would proclaim Wrong Turn 2 to be any kind of masterpiece, but that is hardly the point. Rather, this most unpretentious of sequels comes with a predictable range of expectations, and then delivers on them beyond all expectation, with lots of laughs, gore galore, and enough post-teenage kicks to see you through the night. Forget electro-pop, forget brickphones, forget power-dressing and perms – all the latex and screams on offer here commemorate what was truly great about the Eighties, and Lynch is clearly one of that decade’s greatest fans. 

Verdict: Joe Lynch just goes for it in this maxed-out mutant sequel, sating the errant appetites of gorehounds everywhere.

Anton Bitel