Monday, July 13, 2015

Movie Review: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

Sometimes you've got to tell yourself to get your head out of your own ass. For years now, I have thought and spoken ill of Wrong Turn 2: Dead End for no other discernible reason than the fact that it was totally different from the first one. I've mentioned before that I've been listening to The Movie Crypt podcast (almost two months later and I'm FINALLY caught up on over 100 episodes), and one of the hosts of that show is Joe Lynch, the director of Wrong Turn 2. Every time he or Adam Green mentioned that movie on the podcast, I would cringe a little inside because I felt so bad for not liking it. But I honestly had not seen the whole movie in a long time, and after thoroughly loving Joe's latest output, Everly, I knew I would be visiting Wrong Turn 2 again to see if my mind had changed.

In the back country of West Virginia, a group of people enter the woods to film a reality television show about ultimate survival called "The Apocalypse." The contestants and crew soon find themselves in a real-life survival situation when they realize they've entered the territory of an inbred family of mutant cannibals who hunt and butcher humans like animals.

So after catching up with Wrong Turn 2 today, I've concluded that I'm an asshole. There was NO reason for me to hate this movie as much as I have. My initial aversion to it was based on my undying love for the first film, which was a solid, gory, serious film and one of the best horrors of the 2000s. And because of its respectability, when I first saw the sequel, I was really taken aback and almost angry at how quickly the series went the stupid comedy route. But it doesn't. At all. Wrong Turn 2 has a campy vibe reminiscent of 80s splatter films, but it never goes full comedy, and keeps a serious tone throughout.

The cast of characters is diverse, and though you can look at some of them as being cliché, most are very likable. There are the douchebags and jerks in characters like Jonesy and Michael - or as he likes to be called, "M" - and the bitches and stand-offish females like Elena and Amber. Mara, the skittish TV producer, is the red herring final girl who brings out the best in our real final girl, Nina. Henry Rollins plays the host of the reality show, Dale, and he's... well, he's Henry Rollins. Tough and intense, but with a lot of heart. Jake (played by someone with the awesome name of Texas Battle) is also one of the nice, good guys whom you are rooting for to survive. Nina is just the best, though. She starts out the film a little bitchy but grows into your favorite character. She's hot and tough and more than contributes to the demises of the mutants like an awesome final girl should.

The mutant family is an entirely new group from the ones that were introduced in the first Wrong Turn film, indicating that this is like a fucked-up extended family and that there are many more of them out there. The Stan Winston effects work on the mutants in the original really brought those characters to life, and helped differentiate between them. Here, the mutants all look pretty much the same, and their deformities are not nearly as extreme - just some cleft lips and bulbous facial tumors. They also actually speak in this movie, and there is more of a family dynamic with Ma and Pa Mutant and Brother and Sister Mutant, and apparently Three Finger is in here too but I didn't recognize him as easily. It's actually nice to see one other character return from the first film, and the slight expansion of his involvement with the mutants. All of the mutants are still disgusting and unrelentingly brutal in their kills, and that's really what we want to see with the Wrong Turn sequel.

The gore in Wrong Turn 2 is just great. I always remembered the film mostly for Kimberly Caldwell's death in the beginning where she gets split in half height-wise. Right off the bat this establishes the kind of movie this is going to be - maybe when I first saw it, I didn't have the same level of appreciation for these films like I unabashedly do now. There's a nasty mutant birthing scene, an even nastier mutant incest sex scene, and many other scenes that are just full of intestines and tons of blood and it's all awesome. The only disappointing thing is when certain characters die that you don't want to - like, how the hell can you kill Henry Rollins? Especially when he becomes the deus ex machina and saves Nina and Jake's lives? Ugh, that sucked. Really wanted Rollins to live. Otherwise, there are lots of nice deaths with arrows, knives, and of course the absolute best part at the end with the huge grinding machine thing - Wiki says it's a tree debarker, so that's cool. There's also dynamite. And people getting blown up with the dynamite. That's tits.

So hopefully this review serves as a good apology for any shit-talking I have done about Wrong Turn 2. It doesn't suck! It doesn't suck at all, and I don't know what I saw all those years ago that made me think that. Joe Lynch, I am so, so sorry. The movie is great, and I'm glad I gave it another chance, something I should have done a long while ago.


  1. I forgive you, child. UuU

    Says hillbilly mutant Jesus.

  2. I'm going to have to re-watch this now, the review made it sound great and I can barely remember it.

  3. Halleluia! Finally, Michele, finally ;)

  4. Only problem: The rest of these movies are not that good, only part 4 for me, the rest have really sunk the franchise

    1. I remember liking part 3 quite a bit actually, but haven't even seen the others, so you could definitely be right about that!