Ouija (2014)

NOVEMBER 23, 2014


It's been a long time since I've written a full review for a movie I'd almost deem "Crap", but dammit if Ouija wasn't THAT insulting that I felt I had to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) and hopefully warn off anyone else who stupidly looked at this thing's 50 million gross and 2 week reign as the #1 movie as some indication that it might be at least halfway decent. In a year that saw movie after movie fail to even break 20m, I am baffled why THIS managed to strike a chord, and you can't say "Teens are dumb" because they were smart enough to stay away from The Quiet Ones, and that was also PG-13 and had the same star (Olivia Cooke, the only reason this ISN'T being tagged "Crap" because I continue to be impressed by her flawless American accent). I guess the Halloween thing can account for some, but not why I found myself in a fairly crowded theater 3 weeks later (and on a Sunday afternoon to boot). Why are people STILL going to see this goddamn movie?

Because believe me, I can still be entertained by movies aimed squarely at teen horror fans. Prom Night, Haunting in Connecticut, etc - these movies are harmless and even enjoyable at times, so you can be assured I'm not simply "above" this sort of thing. But CHRIST this one is lazy and generic, without a single inspired moment in the entire thing, save for maybe the framing of the opening death scene, which was given away in the trailer anyway. Throughout the movie I just kept wondering when it was going to kick into high (or, 2nd) gear, until I realized that there were only about 10 minutes left and thus it never would. I know the fact that it's a Platinum Dunes production automatically puts a target on it, but even their biggest critics should be able to admit that there was SOME spark of life in their Friday and Chainsaw remakes - this just joins The Unborn and Horsemen as evidence that they should probably just stick to remakes.

It's hard to imagine even teens getting too worked up about the movie, which ironically could have benefited from more fake scares or something, just to stir the audience awake (oddly it's the one movie I DIDN'T doze off during in the past month). It takes forever for the malevolent spirit from the Ouija board to start killing the bland group of friends at the movie's center, and those moments are pretty much the only ones of terror in the damn thing. Unless the director thinks that watching some teens play with the board and say "Who's moving it?" is terrifying enough on its own? Otherwise I'm actually kind of baffled where the scares were supposed to be. Every now and then there will be a bland moment like a door opening on its own and momentarily creeping out Cooke or one of her pals, but they and thus the audience forgets all about it in the next couple seconds.

Hell, the movie can't even do exposition right. It takes an hour for anyone to bother trying to find out who the spirit might be, and this of course leads to our heroine pretending to be a relative in order to get into a nursing home, because that's what people do in these movies and damned if Stiles White and Juliet Snowden will dare to introduce anything that might be considered a "wrinkle" into their horribly generic script! And wouldn't you know it, the old lady is Lin Shaye, so we can momentarily think about Insidious and get back in a good mood, and hopefully not think too hard about why she's being so nice to Cooke so that we can be all the more SHOCKED when it turns out she's kind of crazy and on the bad ghost's side. The plot, such as it is, pretty much boils down to yet another instance where our heroes need to find a long-dead corpse and either bury it properly or burn it (the latter, in this case), something you probably could guess in the first five minutes even though every single thing about it is confined to the third act.

So what fills the rest of that runtime? It's been 3 days and I honestly can't remember. I DO recall laughing that all of our heroes are very retro, because they still develop photos of casual hangouts and film themselves goofing off with a regular video camera instead of their phones, as if Snowden and White wrote this in 2001 and never bothered to update it for the smart phone age (cells DO appear, but only to deliver text messages). And the production was too cheap to secure posters from any major (real?) bands, so they all have generic posters in their rooms (hung at odd angles, of course), but no actual CDs or things of that nature. License plates are also generic - Cooke's car has 2GAT123, which is the "555" of license plate numbers. I also remember that there's a laughably awful bit of foreshadowing where Cooke instructs her boyfriend to check out a pool cover, and we see him struggle to reach it and close it, which I guess makes his inevitable fall into the pool/getting caught in the pool cover scene an hour alter all the scarier?

But mostly I just remember thinking how insulting the whole thing was, and how I felt bad for the teens that this was being peddled to. Obviously you can't go into Inside territory when you're aiming your movie at kids who aren't even old enough to drive, but come the fuck on here. You don't need me to list the good PG-13 horror movies, because every horror site has compiled one as easy hit bait as if it's a super rare thing that a non-R horror movie is good (spoiler: it isn't). This movie was seemingly designed exclusively to watch at sleepovers, but even on that level it's a complete waste of time and money. Even the IMDb trivia can't even be bothered to put any effort into things; one of the entries is simply "The main character is also on Bates Motel". That's not trivia!

Go to hell, Ouija. Even Haunted House 2 had more energy than this.

What say you?


Late Phases (2014)

NOVEMBER 21, 2014


It's a good thing I waited until today to watch Late Phases, instead of on Tuesday when I originally planned to, because I probably would have been a damn blubbering wreck then. You see, Tuesday would have been my dad's 69th birthday, and since I'm now a dad myself (my baby is 6 months old tomorrow!) this one hit me pretty hard as is, because I hate that he's not here to see his grandson and theoretically tell me I'm doing a good job. And thus, the last thing I'd expect to make it worse would be a werewolf movie, but damned if the thing isn't half Lycan entry, half father-son drama. So thanks for the busy week that delayed my plans, universe - watching 3 days later, I was pretty much OK.

Also, thanks for making a good werewolf movie! Longtime readers of this site know I'm not always enamored by such films; the only ones I like are the ones EVERYONE likes: American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps (though I prefer the first sequel), The Howling - which took me a couple viewings, etc. The only one that might raise an eyebrow is Silver Bullet, and I'd be lying if I said that part of why I enjoyed Late Phases is that it seemed either writer Eric Stolze or director Adrián García Bogliano was also a fan of this not-exactly-beloved 1985 flick (or the story it was based on), as it not only had a disabled character at its center (the crippled Corey Haim character there; here it's the blind veteran played by Nick Damici) but also a mystery about who the wolf was that ended up having a connection to the local church.

Now, I don't think that's really a spoiler - unless they opted for a Ginger Snaps route of not explaining who the human behind the wolf was, the movie only offers a couple of potential suspects and they're all involved with the church. But really, it doesn't seem like the mystery is as compelling to anyone as the human drama at the movie's core, in which the rather dickish Ambrose (Damici) learns to be at peace with himself. As a proud soldier, the illness that took his sight obviously had a major effect on him (though he proves to be a pretty good shot anyway when the time comes), and as a result he's become borderline insufferable, and even worse now that he's been placed in a retirement community populated by overly pleasant people that annoy him. The only one that (kind of) tolerates him is his son, played by Ethan Embry, and eventually he tires of his attitude as well.

As this is a Bogliano film as well as a Glass Eye Pix production, I wasn't expecting much werewolf action to occur until the final few minutes, as both director and company specialize in "slow burn" type horror, letting the mood and atmosphere suffice to provide the horror for the first hour or so, and then unleashing hell. But surprisingly, we get some almost as soon as Ambrose arrives at the community - a neighbor's dog is attacked, he is spooked, and a bit later his own dog is killed by "something". It's chalked up to a "bear or large dog", but we know what it is, and so does Ambrose after a while, demanding someone make him a silver bullet (natch) so he can exact revenge for his dog. Basically, it hits all the beats of a traditional werewolf movie, but in a very casual way that allows the filmmakers to spend more time on the characters. There's a sweet little friendship between Ambrose and a priest played by Tom Noonan, and I'm pretty sure their final scene together is the only time Damici smiles throughout the movie - Noonan was able to crack the gruff exterior, mostly by being as stubborn as he is. It's a shame they only have I think three scenes together; I could have watched a whole movie of them trading barbs while becoming pals.

Noonan is just one of many genre vets that appear in the film, making this resemble a rather peculiar (but admirable) lineup for a horror con at times. You get Lance Guest (Halloween II), Rutanya Alda (Amityville II), and Caitlin O'Heaney (probably hired for Wolfen, but I'll remember her from He Knows You're Alone), plus Larry Fessenden in his usual bit role, and Twin Peaks' Dana Ashbrook for good measure. And outside of horror you can appreciate the first acting gig in a decade from Tina Louise, best known as Ginger from Gilligan's Island (much to her chagrin, from what I understand), and the lovely Erin Cummings from Spartacus and the unfairly dumped Made In Jersey. Maybe it's just my poor choices, but I can't recall the last time I watched a genre flick where nearly the entire cast was not only someone I recognized but someone who I enjoy seeing on my screen, so that was a highlight for sure.

I do wish the film was tighter, however. There are a pair of cops who appear too often for my tastes (since they can't seem to see what (literally) a blind man could), and an odd running gag concerning the bored security guard at the community's front gate (the payoff seems to be that the gate is locked for once when Embry's character needs to get inside - any random excuse could have impeded his arrival). And for some reason there are back to back scenes that seem to exist to reveal who the werewolf is? Like he does the same thing (biting a random person while in human form) and both times are played as surprise/shock moments? It's like they wanted to make sure you didn't miss it the first time or something. That said, now that he's been revealed and we can get to a full transformation, it's a pretty fantastic one - practically designed and delivered in one shot, where they pan to another character's horrified expression before panning back to the guy transforming. Love the shot of all the human teeth bursting out onto the floor! My screener wasn't the best quality (and watermarked to boot) so don't quote me on it, but I'm pretty sure it was all done without CGI (at least, on the wolf - I'm sure it wasn't REALLY an unbroken shot but made to look seamless with some digital fudging), and the wolf itself is definitely a guy in a suit. Maybe it's not the best looking one in history, but I don't even care - in this day and age, just the fact that ANY production is going about it the right way is enough to satisfy me. That it's a low budget indie makes it nothing short of miraculous.

The movie is the latest one to have a miniscule theatrical release on the same day it hits VOD. I'll never understand this model, but I guess it's OK you have choices? I hope there are enough people like me who value the theatrical experience enough to go that route instead of watching it on their cable box (or worse, computer), and believe me I would have went that route if it was playing near me (apparently Los Angeles isn't "select" enough anymore). It's not exactly Interstellar levels of "You must see it on the big screen!", but it's been a damn long time since a quality "solo" werewolf movie was playing (don't give me the Wolfman remake, that thing was a mess). For the past 10 years they've been the opponents of vampires (Twilight and Underworld series) or in crap like Red Riding Hood - it's about time they get the spotlight to themselves again, and in a worthy movie to boot.

What say you?


Stephen King's A Good Marriage (2014)

NOVEMBER 21, 2014


A couple months back I got a press release for Stephen King's A Good Marriage that included specific instructions not to refer to the movie as simply "A Good Marriage". It HAD to have the "Stephen King's" as part of the title, which is amusing because he didn't direct it and even Carpenter doesn't seem to mind if you refer to, say, John Carpenter's Vampires as Vampires (on the flipside, Wes Craven refers to New Nightmare as "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" when discussing it). Not sure why he's so possessive about this particular movie, but I assume it has something to do with the fact that it's the first time he's adapted one of his stories for a theatrical feature since Pet Sematary*, which is kind of a big deal. Still, I hope anyone who broke this rule wasn't too harshly punished.

Anyway, it's a pretty good little thriller, more or less overcoming a pretty big hurdle: the original short story doesn't exactly cry out for adaptation. Maybe if there was another season of Nightmares & Dreamscapes it'd make for a good premiere episode (especially if King adapted again, to help promote it), but if I was in charge of deciding which of his stories get turned into movies, it wouldn't be one I'd focus on, or even consider at all. It's a pretty simple tale of a woman finding out that her husband is a serial killer, and (spoilers ahead) after sort of dealing with it for a while, she decides to kill him and make it look like an accident. And that's about it. There's a mini-climax in which it seems she might get in trouble for what she did when a cop comes snooping around, but that blows over. It's all good.

If I had to guess, the drive to make this into a movie was likely "Let's get two good actors in the roles and let them have some fun." In that case, the film is a resounding success; Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia are as good as they've been in years, with LaPaglia in particular displaying a gift for King's folksy wordplay (his delivery of "snoots", referring to a couple of bitchy girls, is pretty perfect). The most delightful thing about the story is how Allen's character seemingly treats his serial killer habit the same way a wife might deal with her husband having an affair or hiding a gambling problem - she's just kind of pissed off at him and makes him swear not to do it again. And in turn, LaPaglia is the apologetic husband who tries to move past it; he compliments her dress for their daughter's wedding, continues to gently nag her about her candy addiction by leaving her notes inside of her sweets stash, etc. The scene where he casually confesses his crimes (as he gets ready for, and then into, bed) is a dry/dark comic masterpiece, and both of them are perfect. You can imagine that the idea of seeing this one scene play out on-screen was the impetus for making a movie in the first place, with King just embellishing other things from his story in order to make it feature length.

So the daughter's wedding, a long way off in the story and thus never much of a plot point, becomes a full sequence. The candy habit that is mentioned once or twice becomes a running gag, with Darcy finding one final note long after he's gone. And the cop that investigates him at the end almost dies himself, doubling his runtime in the narrative as she goes to visit him at the hospital. The old Corman/Poe movies often added the first two acts in order to lead up to where Poe's stories usually began; this one basically adds a middle to what is otherwise a pretty straight adaptation. The straight up changes King made are minor (the box Bob hides evidence in was a gift from his wife in the story, but in the movie it was a craft from his daughter, which is way better), but if he were to film the story as written it'd only be about 50 minutes long. So the wedding and that other stuff fills in the gap, which adds to the appeal in a way. In the story there's only a bit of time in between her finding out and her doing something about it, but here we get to enjoy the idea that she could forgive him and treat it as a road bump in their, ahem, good marriage.

And that's the other thing I liked (at this point I should explain I only read the story AFTER I watched the movie) - the movie avoids the expected cliches and beats. She discovers evidence that he's a killer pretty early on, but rather than go through the whole thing of having her investigate, or him lie, he just admits it instantly. The same thing goes for the rest of the narrative; the daughter is getting married, and I suspected "OK so maybe the movie will build up to the wedding where it all come out and there will be a big blowout", but no - no sooner did I finish the thought than did the wedding occur without incident. Also, we meet Stephen Lang in the opening scene and then he disappears, so I had a feeling that there would be a dumb twist where it turns out HE was the killer and LaPaglia was just covering for him (and thus she killed her husband for nothing), but no, he's the cop investigating "Beadie" (the nickname for the serial killer). It doesn't go many places (outside of a couple of quick nightmare moments, the movie has almost no on-screen violence, no chase scenes, etc), but the ones it does go aren't the ones you'd expect from its Lifetime-y plot setup.

However I do feel kind of icky after reading the story, because King admits that he was inspired by the BTK Killer, which drastically devalues the comedic appeal of the movie. The story has a few smirk-worthy moments, but without seeing LaPaglia's bemused expression as he casually admits his crimes to his wife (it's the same expression I use when scolding my own wife for forgetting how to operate the universal remote, which I bought specifically to make the process of watching TV much easier for her) it doesn't come across as particularly FUNNY. To be fair, the murders occurred before I was even born and there are things that occurred in the past couple years that people make much worse "jokes" about, but it still kinda bothered me. Maybe it's the dad gene (two of BTK's victims were children) making me over sensitive again, I dunno. So, just for the record, possible caveat.

The movie got a brief theatrical release, but I can't imagine it was very successful - this is an "at home" movie if there ever was one. It's nothing spectacular, and wouldn't rank in the top 15 King adaptations (there have been at least 40) or anything, but it charmed me in an odd way, and will probably play best to married folks that can readily appreciate the humor in the concept. It's almost a stretch to call it a thriller (and it's certainly not a typical horror movie; King's name alone is the only reason I'm even bothering to write about it here), but it's got two great performances and a unique concept, making it a win in my book despite the queasiness about the approach.

What say you?

*Since someone won't pay attention to my wording and say I'm wrong: Sleepwalkers was an original screenplay, not adapted from anything he ever published. And the other things he wrote (like The Shining mini-series) were television productions, not theatrical features.


October Mini-Review Roundup!

NOVEMBER 7, 2014


The fact that HMAD only had a single review throughout October really saddens me. I let you guys down, and myself. Granted it was insanely busy (in addition to the usual stuff, I now have the kid AND we moved. AND I took on a rather easy side job but one that forced me to be on my toes at all times and thus not able to write properly), but I still think I coulda found the time to at least post SOMETHING from Screamfest or the various movies I had to watch for my Netflix gig. Then again, it's been so insane that I haven't worked on my book in a month or seen Annabelle or Ouija yet, if it makes you feel better.

Anyway, the time has passed for all of these movies; after a few days my memory blanks too much to write a full review unless I took notes (which, of course, I didn't). I have half a Dark Was The Night review written that stops mid sentence and it'll never get finished because I simply can't recall enough to discuss without it being so vague that you'll question if I even actually saw it (which I did! I have witnesses AND a tweet from Kevin Durand saying it was nice to meet me at the premiere!). So you get capsule reviews of that and all the other movies I saw this month. This sort of clears the deck and now I'll be back to posting 1-2x a week, I hope. Fair enough?

(in alpha order)

COME BACK TO ME (Screener)
A surprise little gem, this movie seems like another "disturbed young person gets obsessed with their married neighbor" kind of thing, like The Crush or whatever, but we ultimately learn there's something far more sinister (and rather inspired) going on, resulting in, no lie, one of the best and ballsiest downer endings I've seen in ages. It feels a bit TV movie-ish at times, but that might even work in its favor when you consider the decidedly non-commercial ending.

This is a microbudget (5k!) possession movie from Bulgaria, and actually set there! Usually Bulgaria is subbing for any number of European countries (or even isolated US locations), but this is a rare exception. It's a pretty good entry in the post-Exorcist sub-genre of movies where a girl is possessed and a jaded priest has to save her, though it doesn't really do much new until the final few minutes. Also, the director curiously kept inserting (terrible) CGI effects where they weren't needed, as if to add production value. The lo-fi aspect was one of its strong suits - embrace it! Don't muddy it up with garbage pixels!

I didn't get to as many films at the fest as I'd like, but of the ones I did this was my favorite. A character drama wearing a monster movie's clothes, it seemed like a Stephen King short story adapted to feature form, and I mean that as a compliment. The afore-namedropped Kevin Durand plays a small town sheriff who is grieving over the death of his son and overly protective of the surviving one, a handicap that is put to the test when a (spoiler?) Wendigo type creature makes its way into town after losing its habitat due to deforestation. The monster only makes a few appearances, as Tyler Hisel's script keeps the focus on Durand and other town members, letting the monster inform the drama rather than the other way around. It doesn't always work perfectly (there are two instances where it seems the movie will kick into higher gear only for that to not happen), but my own fears of not being able to watch/protect my son every second of the day (the boy died via accident under his watch, so he's of the "I should have been able to save him" opinion) were enough for me to not care and invest 100% into the narrative. This is the sort of thing I'd like to see more of at the fest - movies with commercial premises, just done differently.

I groaned when I saw the title of this one, as I've seen enough "_____ of the Dead" movies to last a lifetime - and the fact that it revolved around soccer was another red flag, though it made it easy to make jokes ("Oh so it's 90 minutes of nothing happening and ends in a draw?"). However, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, even though I was a bit conservative with my joke about the runtime as it's actually a hair over two hours long. But it earns it, offering up several likable characters, each with their own arcs (the superfans who have to sneak into the game, the disgraced player returning to his hometown, the arrogant rookie who wants to leave the team for a better offer, etc) and a winning emphasis on folks working together and generally being pleasant instead of the usual zombie grim-fest. The zombie action is nothing special, but I quite enjoyed the spectacle of how the virus is spread: puking what looks like milk on each other. Also: best placement of a title sequence ever. I actually applauded even though I was watching alone.

A very close race with Dark as my favorite film of the fest, this is a twisty, very sad haunted house drama about a woman who is accused of murdering her family in the 1980s and returns to it in the present day after serving her sentence. We see both timelines unfold, not unlike the recent Oculus, but if you consider the title you'll know that those two timelines really aren't that disparate in this particular house. There's some fun to be had seeing events unfold from two different perspectives (think Timecrimes or Insidious 2), but it never feels gimmicky - it's all in service of a very touching tale of the lengths a woman will go to in order to keep her family safe. This rightfully won some awards at the fest, and I pray it gets released as is in the US instead of snapped up just to be able to do an English remake (like [Rec] was).

JOY RIDE 3 (Screener)
More Saw wannabe nonsense, this time from Declan O'Brien of "the bad Wrong Turn entries" fame. I didn't exactly love the original movie (I actually said the sequel was better at the time I saw it, though I'm sure that's not true if I were to watch them back to back), but I can't see how fans of those will be happy here, since Rusty Nail has become a traditional killer in the Hitcher/Mick from Wolf Creek vein, and has mostly dropped his usual MO of playing with his victims in favor of Saw-level death traps (particularly in the opening sequence). There's no sense of perverse playfulness, just chases and kills. It's not terrible as these things go, but I guess I'm just not a fan of this series.

Last year, I was a guest on the Harmontown podcast, talking about Horror Movie A Day (it was right after I quit the daily part). For some reason, Harmon only wanted to talk about the Leprechaun films, which I had largely avoided over the years due to the fact that I didn't like the ones I had seen and figured my one or two reviews would suffice. But I know enough to know that this isn't a goddamn Leprechaun movie in any way shape or form - it's just your usual crappy Syfy channel monster flick, right down to the Canadian locations subbing for somewhere else (Ireland, in this case) and terrible effects. This Leprechaun doesn't talk, doesn't have a hat, and... well I don't know how to describe him really since the movie constantly hides him from our view, letting a baffling "Predator POV" type thing take the place of a traditional presence. And I have no idea what the "Origins" title refers to since he's already a "thing" when the movie starts (our heroes are being led to his domain to be a sacrifice to make amends for the gold they stole from it years ago), so it's even more offensive. I'm not a franchise fan at all and even I'm insulted that this thing is considered part of the series and is included on the new boxed set. It'd be like including the lousy 1990 indie Scary Movie (with John Hawkes) in a boxed set of the famous parody series.

PARLOR (Screamfest)
I don't know why this piece of junk was selected to open the festival, but it certainly didn't bode well for the event. Even if it came out in 2008 I think we'd be mocking it for being a derivative Hostel wannabe, so to see it in 2014 was just bewildering. As is often the case with these things, a bunch of partying vacationers are led to a mysterious place (in this case, a tattoo parlor) where they are dispatched, gorily, in order to keep a very secretive/exclusive business operation running. In between scenes of (admittedly impressive) gore FX, actor Robert Lasardo waxes philosophic about tattoos. It's as dumb as it sounds, but it made for a fun time at least; the crowd didn't take long to start laughing at the wooden dialogue and terrible performances, and I suspect the directing team was unaware that the film they made was going to be laughed at. So that was amusing.

SEE NO EVIL 2 (Screamfest)
As one of the 9 or so people who really liked the original film, and the easiest mark in the world when it comes to Danielle Harris movies, I really should have liked this movie more than I did. It's a serviceable enough slasher, and Katharine Isabelle gives it some spark that it probably doesn't deserve, but the script makes the fatal mistake of letting the entire group of would-be victims learn about Jacob Goodnight's new killing spree almost instantly, and so instead of using the location for stalk scenes or even basic "Where did ____ go? Let's go find him/her." scenarios, the bulk of the movie is little more than our 4-5 heroes running up and down what appears to be the same three hallways over and over. Every now and then Jacob will catch and kill one of them, but the kills are all pretty dull (an overlong opening title sequence showcases a bunch of medical tools (it takes place in a morgue), seeming to suggest that they'll be creatively mis-used, but he pretty much sticks to one or two weapons, or just his bare hands). They also botch the "it's the same night" aspect by constantly referencing Twitter for some reason, and he only gouges one pair of eyes, which is his "thing". But the Soskas directed it, so you'll hear it's amazing and a big step forward for the genre and all that, because they took a picture with whoever said that.

I don't even know where to begin with this one. The few people who enjoyed Seed probably didn't care if they made a sequel, and yet they made one anyway that doesn't jive with the first film in the slightest. Now it's some Texas Chain Saw/Hills Have Eyes wannabe thing, with Seed in the Leatherface role and horrendous lo-fi digital video replacing grainy, sun-drenched film. The film is told all out of sequence for reasons I can't really discern, beyond giving them license to put the movie's most graphic and gratuitously violent scene at the beginning even though it's part of the climax. Uwe Boll "presents" but doesn't do anything else, and I swear to Christ, even his harshest critics will probably miss him. Hilariously, it's been retitled Blood Valley: Seed's Revenge for DVD, but that doesn't make any sense since the first film was already his revenge and in this one he's just a henchman, basically. So dumb.

WRONG TURN 6 (Screamfest)
Hey, remember when I was talking about Bulgaria subbing for other locations? Once again it's being used to simulate West Virginia, for some reason. I had high-ish hopes for this one since Declan O'Brien was no longer directing, but alas, it continued to prove the rule for this series that the Canadian entries (1, 2, and to a lesser extent, 4) are superior to their Bulgarian-shot brethren. I am fairly confident that this one was an unrelated spec that got retrofitted as a Wrong Turn movie later, which is why we have our usual three mutants inexplicably working for a pair of incestuous rich assholes at a hotel/spa in the middle of nowhere. Our protagonist is a relative who has inherited the hotel and gets wooed into joining their strange way of life, much to the dismay of his friends. No one takes a wrong turn - the heroes are all exactly where they planned to be, and Three Finger and his pals only make fleeting, often extraneous appearances (like when they kill an old lady for no reason). I also couldn't begin to tell you where it fit into the timeline; anachronisms aside the series has had some semblance of continuity until now (with the order being 4, 5, 1, 2, 3), but this neither picks up from 5's cliffhanger-ish ending nor leads directly into the original or any other entry. It's an improvement over the last one I guess, but that's saying almost nothing. I just wonder if I'll be stupid enough to watch the inevitable Joy Ride vs Wrong Turn.

What say you?


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