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Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 10/9/2007
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/4/2007
On paper, Wrong Turn looked like a fairly standard backwoods horror movie. In reality, the movie was surprisingly well-made, but it was nothing extra special. However, one must pay attention to a film which angers a governor (West Virginia) enough to speak out against it. I know that in my case, it certainly piqued my curiosity. Now, we have Wrong Turn 2: Dead End. Will there be anyone in this film to anger political officials, or will it simply anger movie lovers?
As with the first film, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is set in the backwoods of West Virginia. Here, producer/director M (Matthew Currie Holmes) has decided to stage a reality show called Ultimate Survivalist: The Apocalypse. The show, which is hosted by retired soldier Dale (Henry Rollins), simulates a post-apocalyptic world where the contestants must find the elements necessary to survive. The winner will receive $100,000. As M and his colleague Mara (Aleska Palladino) prep for the show, the contestants arrive. They include: Nina (Erica Leerhsen), a brooding goth girl; Jake (Texas Battle), a former college football star; Amber (Daniella Alonso), an ex-soldier; Jonesy (Steve Braun), a professional skateboarder; and Elena (Crystal Lowe), a spoiled girl. When the final contestant doesn't arrive (for reasons which are revealed in the opening scene), M recruits Mara to be in the show. After Dale explains the show's (convoluted) rules, the contestants are put into pairs and sent off into the woods. What they don't know is that their game has been set up near the home of a group of inbred, mutated mountain folk. When these people learn that strangers are on their land, they go hunting. Quickly, the reality show contestants find themselves in a very real struggle for survival.
It's rare to find a sequel which feels fresh and original, but nearly everything in Wrong Turn 2: Dead End comes across as especially dated. For starters, the whole reality show thing has really been played out by now. You must remember that Survivor premiered in May, 2000. Seven years later, reality shows have been done to death and using one as the center-piece of a film, especially one which is spoofing Survivor plays as hackneyed. The other issue lies with the "backwoods rednecks kill urbanites" genre, which has had many peaks and valleys over the years. Wrong Turn was nothing but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre transplanted to the woods of West Virginia. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is simply a continuation of that idea, so when you think about it, this movie is the carbon copy of a rip-off. (In reality, this second film steals from Texas Chainsaw Massacre even moreso than Wrong Turn as evidenced by the "insane family eats dinner while someone strapped to a chair is forced to watch" scene, which is the coup de grace of Chainsaw.)
However, while watching Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, I got the feeling that director Joe Lynch and screenwriters Turi Meyer & Al Septien knew that the film was full of cliches and simply decided to go for broke. If you were offended in any way by Wrong Turn, then you will want to stay very far away from the sequel. Whereas the first film included on male mutated hillbillies, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End brings females mutants onto the scene and there are scenes where...well...they do what men and women are want to do from time to time. Yeh, I don't need to see that. There is a birth scene which isn't as gross as the one inHills Have Eyes 2, but it's still pretty darn disgusting. All of the murders in the film are quite graphic, but some are very clever as well. The beginning and the ending of the film drag, but gore fans will no doubt enjoy the film's mid-section, where the filmmakers decide to kill off most of the cast in the most disgusting ways possible. And there's no denying the fun of watching Henry Rollins kick mutant hillbilly ass.
In a world where movie fans are often misled, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is exactly what you think it would be: a fast, cheap sequel to a somewhat obscure modern horror film. The movie doesn't even try to replicate the suspense found in Wrong Turn, as it throws as much violence, gore, and redneck mayhem at the audience as possible. The movie doesn't try to overcome it's less original components and simply tries to please horror fans by being as in-your-face as possible. Those who are often wary of gore films from major studios should rent this one to check out the audacious effects in the middle of the film.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End comes down off of the mountain and onto DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at an aspect ratio of around 1.80:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Please keep in mind that a special preview copy was screened for this review, but the transfer didn't look very good. The image shows a notable amount of pixellation during camera movements. The image is simultaneously overly bright and hazy. The character's flesh tones are too pale. However, the background colors aren't washed out. The image lacks in detail in some shots. On a positive note, the picture shows very little grain and no defects from the source material. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a nice track which provides plenty of stereo and surround sound effects from the woods. We get to hear the off-screen noises just as the characters would. The action scenes, which include several explosions, provide a nice amount of subwoofer material.
This DVD contains only a few extras...I think. There is an AUDIO COMMENTARY featuring director Joe Lynch and actors Henry Rollins and Erica Leerhsen. This is a fairly informative commentary, as Lynch provides details about the production, with Rollins adding many asides about his experiences on the film. But, Leerhsen remains silent most of the time. (Maybe she didn't want to be there?) "Making Gore Look Good" (12 minutes) provides a behind-the-scenes look at the stunts and makeup FX of the opening scene, the look of the mutants, the setup of one character death using a special camera, and the creation of an exploding body. The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER. Those were the only extras included on my preview copy. Advertisements from Fox promise another commentary and two more behind-the-scenes featurettes. I guess will have to wait for the final release version to know for sure.
On September 15, 2009, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brought Wrong Turn 2: Dead End to Blu-ray Disc. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, and it shows no defects from the source material. However, there is a fine sheen of grain on the image which reminded me of the grain filter used on the Silent Hill video games This layer of grain cuts down on the image detail. Otherwise, the image is never overly dark or bright and the colors look fine. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.7 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, as they show nice separation and detail. The subwoofer effects are about par, as they are present in the "shock" scenes, but they don't pack much of an "oomph!". The surround sound effects are far too infrequent and subtle. Sounds which we expect to hear from the rear don't materialize.
Along with the extras listed above, the Blu-ray Disc contains several additional special features (which actually mirror the original ads from Fox). There is a second AUDIO COMMENTARY with Writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien. "More Blood, More Guts: The Making of Wrong Turn 2" (10 minutes) is a fairly straight-forward featurette. In a nice change of pace, it's light on clips from the movie. The bulk of the piece is made up of comments from the cast, dirctor, and producer who discuss their involvement in the film. We also get some goopy on-set video. "On Location with P-Nut" (2 minutes) is a brief video diary shot by the bassist from 311. (That may be the most random sentence that I've ever typed.) The footage shows the shooting of one of the most notorious scenes in the film.
Review Copyright 2007/2009 by Mike Long