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The Wrong Turn Saga’s Backwoods-ness is Just a Gimmick

Wrong Turn failed to become big as a horror franchise, for five wrongs
and one or two averages don’t make a right.

Not a single sequel or prequel in the Wrong Turn series has an IMDb.com
rating above 5.5 (which only part two manages to achieve).

Wrong Turn is an intellectual property with potential to enrage horror
fans in general and backwoods horror buffs in particular.

A godsend for gore and splatter horror audiences, but borrowing from
the older and more established, sub-genres of the macabre: backwoods
horror, and its two brother genres hillbilly and redneck.

I generally classify a movie by how many of its scenes stay with me
through the years after watching them. It’s a common way to calculate
how good a movie is, and it’s popular with many.

Even if there are many other parameters to judge the worth of a movie,
like how true to the genre it is, how much of the film panders to its
target audience, or how script, photography and acting are executed,
the generally wafer-thin plots of each Wrong Turn and the shallow
and forgettable back-story and characters of the property make for
a very disappointing experience.

The filmmakers may have attempted to come up with a great idea, a crossover
between splatter and backwoods horrors but, even from the first view,
for me, it wasn’t really that good. I’d define the final product and general
feel of the series as popcorn torture porn.

Maybe they conceived the original as a crossover between gore and summer
blockbuster. Either way, not taking on account the original, they were all
straight to DVD movies. That should rise some red flags already.

I have to give to the original Wrong Turn the recognition it deserves. It was
released the same year as Saw (2003), and two years before Hostel (2005),
probably the two most recognized splatter/torture porn horror movies of
the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The first might have been good, but as I watched the subsequent ones anything
I could have treasured from the first became diluted by a hodgepodge of
entrails, blood and predictability. Without any thread to hold the narrative
together other than the boorish Hilliker clan’s story-line.

Notwithstanding, I noted the lack of transparency and disregard for smart
backwoods audiences in the choice of theme and setting borrowing from
backwoods/hillbilly/redneck and never, ever, repaying with a decent,
well-thought plot or memorable hero or heroine in a string of six movies.

The formula of the first, repeated ad nauseam in the following five, gets
progressively boring if one approaches these movies expecting the gore,
updated versions of Deliverance (1972), Southern Comfort (1981) or even
The Hills Have Eyes (1977).

If these movies attempt at being intelligent or make a pun at casting nobodies
to play characters who are also nobodies that always get mercilessly killed
and about whom you can’t remember a thing later, as if to say that giving
the audience someone to identify with and succeed is very last summer,
they fail, and not just that, they also insult our intelligence.

© Wensley Evolo, 2018.
Photo Credit: Melissa Lewington

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