In the early 2000’s, the “Wrong Turn” franchise debuted as a creepy, different sort of mainstream horror film that follows a group as they are stranded in the woods with inbred cannibals on a bloodthirsty rampage. Spawning five sequels (three of which went straight to DVD/VOD), the franchise hit a roadblock of trying to refresh the story and setting to better reach newer demographics.
Then comes along the newest film, a reboot, aptly titled “Wrong Turn” that not only elevates the story to a much more meaningful level but also is better than any of the original series films.
The movie follows friends hiking the Appalachian Trail as they are confronted by “The Foundation,” a community of people who have been cut off from society and living in the mountains for hundreds of years. While this is happening we also see a father, Scott (Matthew Modine), search for his daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega) who is among the friend group that has gone missing.
What makes this film a much better interpretation of the original idea is that like many great horror films before it, the filmmakers use the story as a vehicle for conversation about topics that are very relevant in 2021. Colonization is one of them — a turn for the series that is significantly more impactful than any before it.
As we learn more about “The Foundation,” we learn that it isn’t so far off from the idea that Darius (Adain Bradley) sets forth earlier in the film, allowing audiences to have a somewhat understanding of the villains as opposed to outright fear or hatred.
It also allows the viewer to come upon these realizations with a slight nudge as opposed to a forceful opinion frenzy. We see how the town by the mountain hasn’t changed much since the Confederacy, including the people and how they approach the tourists.
The diversity in the cast is a huge win for horror films, too, allowing the characters to flourish with little to no deep mention of their unique characteristics. The gay and Black characters are treated the same in the grand scheme of the film which is so refreshing since horror films usually have an all or nothing approach to diversity.
While the film certainly is a bit muddled throughout and has a hard time balancing the little nuanced characters and stories, it’s nonetheless the most meaningful of the series. This is a film that would benefit from a theatrical release, no doubt, but will only see a one night release in theaters before a roll-out on VOD in February.
Jordan Ryan Lester is a contributor to The Daily Record. He lives in Dunn and can be reached at email@example.com.