The Wrong Turn franchise, which began in 2003, has had a longer than deserved shelf life due to the fact the second Joe Lynch directed film was that rare beast; a straight to DVD sequel better than the original. So after the pre-requisite prequel we are now on the fifth film where they are not even trying anymore.
Starting off with an explicit sex scene followed by some college kids with what looks like half the drug supply of an entire weekend at the Burning Man festival (just so you know they are doomed). The film reveals that the kids are actually in West Virginia for the ‘Mountain Man’ festival. Quite what this entails is anyone’s guess as they have camped on a patch of land probably just outside the studio office door and we learn that the police department is really rushed off their feet because of it, but we never see the effects, just a gratuitous sex scene in a car.
So the three giggling inbred freaks from the previous films are stalking the woods near the festival and they have hooked up with a wobbly accented survivalist (Doug Bradley aka Pinhead) who bosses them around. The survivalist goes for milk and sugar into town and gets hit by the college kids who are high as the mountain in mountain man, the car plows into some kind of pole and it looks like a pretty bad wreck which would have killed a normal non seatbelt wearing teen but our heroes stumble out, shake it off and get attacked by Doug Bradley waving a knife. They kick the living hell out of him just as the cops show up and they all get hauled off to jail once a deputy (who never appears again) finds their drugs. The rest of the film is taken up with the college kids who have been released being picked off one by one in elaborate nasty ways as Pinhead makes threats from his jail cell to a harassed and confused female sheriff. The inbred lunatics giggle and stalk around outside, it’s like Assault on Precinct 13 except y’know…crap.
The problems with Wrong Turn 5 are legion; its illogical script makes the recent Texas Chainsaw 3D look like a David Mamet piece. The thing that stands out most and will irk those who look for nothing more than gore, is that it’s so clinical and so calculated that the unpleasant scenes just irritate rather than shock or disgust. Nothing happens organically as a consequence of the action on-screen. There are scenes involving intestines being fed to the owner, hammers breaking limbs and nasty burnings but every single scene is overly lit as if under giant fluorescent tubes and it just drains any power from the grue.
What’s worse is because of the lighting and the bog standard camera work, you see all three inbred lunatics in their fully made up glory and the make-up jobs are terrible. The first Wrong Turn film was great because of the way it was shot, you hardly ever saw a full visage because they were in the shadows and you would quickly see their forms and hear their weird shrieks as victims were murdered. The way this film is shot renders any power they had to chill completely inert. Even the manner in which the victims are killed makes very little sense, the freaks all walk around with knives or axes but rarely do they use them, instead they drag their victims away and indulge in half-assed jigsaw style traps.
Case in point; two of the college kids get all macho in one scene and stalk around the blatantly fake façade of a small town street, there is nobody around during an apparent festival weekend but I digress, the freaks set upon them and you don’t see them killed. Instead they wake up on a football pitch, one buried up to his neck in the ground and one chained to a goal post. At the other end of the field a giggling freak drives towards them in a combine harvester. The logistics of this are mind-boggling, at best it would have taken three or four hours to get the kids from the street to the field, bury them and rent a combine harvester. It’s very lazy writing and sadly boils down to the pure essence of everything that is wrong with horror these days. Shock over substance is sometimes enough but not here.
The acting is all around awful in this film, with the best performance coming from Roxanne McKee who used to be in Hollyoaks, which should tell you all you need to know. Avoid this film like it is inbred and on fire.