AUGUST 16, 2007
Today marks the 6 month anniversary of the last (and only) time I missed a movie since I began Horror Movie A Day. With the occasional double feature, that makes somewhere around 200 horror movies I have more or less watched in a row. Needless to say, the term ‘desensitized’ is pretty appropriate.
So how did movie #201ish, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, endear itself to me? Did it stick out in a way that I can actually write a review without having to check my notes to remember what it was about? Fuckin A YES it did.
For starters, it begins with a girl being split in half (and that’s vertical splitting, not horizontal). You think the head chopping scene in the original was awesome? This tops it. And it’s the first kill! And then a few minutes later, the words CHEVY CHASE appear on screen. Now, granted it’s for the Maryland town, and not the beloved actor, but still, you know how long it’s been since I saw a movie that had “Chevy Chase” listed ANYWHERE and liked it? Does the phrase “it’s a bit nipply out!” mean anything to you?
And it doesn’t let up. A few minutes later someone insults a vegan (yes!). Then Henry Rollins tries to win over the West Virginia officials who decried the first film for making WV look like a redneck state full of inbred murderers (which it didn’t at all. It just re-enforced what we all already knew) by claiming he has never seen anyone fuck a pig. And so on and so on. I shit you not, my cheeks hurt a bit right now, because I was smiling like an idiot for most of the running time. Is the movie going to win any awards for storytelling? No, but what’s important to know is that it won’t be nominated for a Razzie either. Character development is presented perfectly; we are given just enough information to care a bit about everyone, but not in a shoehorned way that slows the movie down. Joe Lynch and writers Al Septien and Turi Meyer know perfectly well what the people are there for, and they deliver. But they deliver without treating the audience like they are idiots, or worse, forgetting basic filmmaking principles. And that is to be lauded. A horrendous and insulting movie like Drive Thru has just as many kills, but without the slightest shred of evidence anyone involved has any respect for the audience. Therein lies the crucial difference. I want to have fun, but I don’t want to feel like I need to smoke a bowl or maybe just give myself a lobotomy before I am able to do so.
Fuck, I even REWOUND the movie at one point when I had to minimize the window for a minute. I haven’t even bothered to hit pause when I physically left the room on most of the movies I watch (even the ones that are in another language), but at that point the movie had earned its wings and I felt I owed it that much. How’s THAT for confusing praise?
Now, one thing the movie didn't make too clear was that the mutant that survived the original is back, but he's played by a different actor (his name is 3 Finger. Hi!). Or maybe it's just me, the last time I watched Wrong Turn 1 was when I was working overnights, and on my night off I tried to keep my sleep schedule the same, so rather than go to bed I watched it at like 2 am while eating cereal... I was a mess. Either way, the house they live in is different. But the old man that Desmond Harrington (where the hell’s that guy been anyway? I liked his work) stole the map from at the end of the first one shows up again, still drinking his Pepto, and even dishes out some backstory. I would have liked another nod or two along those lines, but oh well. Lynch also uses the dreaded body-mounted camera facing up at the person’s head shot during one scene. You know the one (they also used it a bit in Hostage and The Hitcher remake). Whoever invented the rig that allows this shot should be, well, shot. Luckily he only uses it once AND the character gets killed to boot.
Actually, ironically (shut up irony police if this isn’t irony), for a movie that deals with a reality show gone awry, there is very little “POV of the video camera” style shots that were used in a lot of the other reality/horror movies such as Halloween Resurrection (apologies to all WT2 cast and crew for bringing up that POS in this review). Maybe one minute of the entire film is shown this way, so kudos to Lynch and DP Robin Loewen for using actual film as much as possible, even when video is expected.
And, again, I have seen more horror movies in the past 6 months than I probably have in my whole life. I see all the tricks coming a mile away (if you recall, yesterday I recognized an actor simply by his friggin foot). And yet, I totally failed to pick the survivors. My two picks both got the axe (one lasted quite a bit, but the other bought it before the halfway mark), but I didn’t read the opening credits so maybe that was a giveaway. Don’t read the opening credits!
I should also talk a bit about the gore. It’s 99% practical, and 100% great. Unlike Feast, which sprayed so much mutant and human grue across the screen in the first 20 minutes that it got a bit tiresome, WT2 dishes it out in a nice even pace, walking a fine line between too much and too slow. And the one digital effect that I spotted was used in possibly the best ‘shock’ kill in the film, so it evens out. The DVD has a brief featurette about the makeup, so fans should be happy.
Hell, I dig this movie so much I’ll even have the very first HMAD contest!
Along with the DVD, FOX sent the super cool promotional magnet for the film. I had already grabbed a couple at Comic Con (I never did do my “Con Review” did I? Oh well, let’s just say it was chill.), so I will part with this one. How do you win? Very simple…ish. On August 31st, buy a ticket for DEATH SENTENCE instead of Shitoween. Preferably the 7:30 or 10 show, i.e. when most people are (sadly) most likely seeing Zombie’s shitpile. Then be the first to post a photo of your DS ticket stub in THIS comment section. That’s it! You see a movie that can’t possibly be worse and get the most R rated magnet possibly ever printed… or, manufactured… look I don’t know how magnets are made. But it’s yours.
I can’t believe FOX would send Hills Have Eyes 2 into theaters and not this. It boggles the mind. Here’s a movie that almost DEMANDS to be seen with a big group of like minded friends and yet they favored a movie that made the US Army look like a bunch of idiots AND had some decidedly non-crowd pleasing mutant on human rape. At least in this movie, the mutant fucks his sister and it’s consensual, the way all mutant sex should be.
What say you?