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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Review: Wrong Turn (2021)

Director: Mike P. Nelson

Screenplay: Alan B. McElroy

Year: 2021

I've always been a fan of the "Wrong Turn" movie series, and by being such, I recognize that they have slowly drifted away from the quality of the first one, which is not all that high itself. As expected, the announcement of a new beginning in the series caught my attention, and it instantly got a spot in my list of movies I had to watch this year. Although a little late, finally the moment has come.

A group of friends goes to spend a few days exploring the Appalachian Trail area. While they explore the place, they stumble upon The Foundation, a dangerous group that settled in the mountains to continue living in the same way the United States was founded. Now the group of friends must find a way to escape The Foundation and get out of the mountains alive.

From the very beginning, I was under the impression that this movie would be far from the story that made the series a success, even when the script was penned by Alan B. McElroy, who also wrote the script for the 2003 version. During the first scenes, we meet who will undoubtedly be the victims; a group of young adults on a trip to the mountains. During their first night in the remote place, they have their first encounter with the locals, which directs the movie towards a moralistic field and a power struggle between left and right, a tendency that has flooded conventional cinema percolated through horror films.

The next day after the confrontation between liberal millennials against confederate boomers, the group makes its way to the mountains, where an accident that raised my expectations occurs. “Wrong Turn” movies have always been recognized for their graphic and extreme gore, and in this scene, the director Mike P. Nelson (“The Domestics”) makes clear that this new version will follow that line. However, this is the only thing that resembles the rest of the movies in the series.

This new “Wrong Turn” version simply doesn’t feel like a “Wrong Turn” movie. Instead of having the iconic cannibals, the villains of this movie are a small society that resisted the United States societal changes and preferred to live under the ideals of its foundation, which is one of those political arguments that we don’t need more of. The deformed cannibals appear in the movie, but they never feel like a threat or an important part of the plot but rather like a wink to the original series that makes us miss it even more.

This new version of “Wrong Turn” is a decent horror movie, but not even close to what we have become used to seeing in these movies. It leaves the deformed cannibals behind to steal a page out of “Antebellum’s” book and exchange them for a sociopolitical argument that brings the United States’ historical past atrocities to modern times. This worked in “Antebellum”, but in a “Wrong Turn” movie, where you expect to see cannibals wreaking havoc and excessive violence, it falls entirely out of place and is not effective. Carrying these series’s name does more harm than good, and surely it would have gotten a better score if it did not create a predisposition on what its plot would be about and disappoint in that regard.

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