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Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Fox // Unrated // September 15, 2009
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted September 25, 2009 | E-mail the Author
Wrong Turn 2
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kicks off with American Idolette Kimberly Caldwell -- playing herself, even -- getting the better part of her face ripped off by an inbred mutant hillbilly. While Three-Finger's gnawing on a chunk of that pop tart for breakfast, a horribly disfigured Kimmy stumbles back to her convertible, only to be split clean down the middle by an oversized axe. As a huge pile of her innards are steaming on the blacktop, the two inbred brothers each grab a side of that beef and slowly lug it with 'em as they lurch towards the horizon.

You got it: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is the best movie ever. C'mon, Patton Oswalt even belts out the voice of Kim's agent on the other end of the phone. Patton, fifteen feet of intestines, and two rubbery halves of a corpse dragged across a West Virginia backroad by inbred cannibals: that's kind of the review right there. If so much as reading that makes you wince and cringe, then...y'know, that's okay. Plenty of other reviews here for you to tear into. On the other hand, if a bitchy, partially munched-on banana split sounds like money to you, then...congrats! Hope you dig your shiny new copy of Wrong Turn 2.

Anyway, I guess this is where I go back to spouting off the plot summary. Kimberly was on her way to shooting the pilot for Ultimate Survivalist: Apocalypse. Think Survivor meets On the Beach: a faux-reality game show that drops six contestants off in the middle of nowhere in West Virginia -- fifty miles from the nearest Starbucks -- to simulate a post-apocalyptic future. The looming threat of radiation poisoning, a gaggle of unhinged, irradiated mutants, having to forage for food with whatever they stumble upon in the dense forests around 'em...that whole thing. The last man (or woman!) standing scores a hundred-kay payday. Hey, and with Henry Rollins -- I mean, retired Marine Col. Dale Murphy -- as host...? I'd watch.

You've got your clean-scrubbed, multi-ethnic reality show cast -- the meek, mousy girl, the aloof bitchy type, the way-literal fame whore, the ass-kicking Private Vasquez stand-in, an obnoxiously douchey X-Games guy, and the morally upright kid with his heart in the right place -- and what do they all have in common...? They're all gunning for that hundred grand. What else...? They're all on the menu for a family of inbred cannibals. You thought these guys were kinda weepy when they're dragged in front of the cameras for an elimination challenge? Try being skewered, partially eaten alive, getting a limb or two lopped off, and then what's left being chucked in an oversized pot. Baby, you got a stew goin'!

So, here's a terrible analogy: if the original Wrong Turn were a zombie flick, it'd play something like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. Sure, it's sopping with more than its share of blood, but the movie's much more interested in fleshing out an unsettling inescapable sense of dread...than dumping another bucket of the red stuff in front of the
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camera. Wrong Turn...? Atmospheric, unnervingly suspenseful '70s horror. If Wrong Turn 2 were a zombie movie...? Dead Alive: unhinged, unrelenting batshit-psychosis. More of a splatter flick than straightahead horror, director Joe Lynch is up for anything as long as it spews out another geyser of blood. Multiple skewerings and even scalpings, a freshwater flaying, raining blood from the lacerated skies, multiple exploding inbred hillbillies, a staunch vegan force-fed from a cannibal buffet, razor wire handcuffs, Henry Rollins going all John Rambo and with a stack of dynamite handy to boot, finger food in a totally literal sense...I mean, a couple of poor bastards get whacked into an oversized wood chipper, in the name of all that's whatever. One of the mutants squirts out a three-fingered, cleft-lipped baby, spewing a barrel drum of brackish blood out from her nethers in the process. Along with inbred cannibal childbirth, you're also lookin' at spit-lubed inbred cannibal masturbation and hot, steamy inbred cannibal sex -- between a brother and sister, even -- on a tree stump. Kinda goes without saying that we're talking about an unrated version of the flick, by the way.

Wrong Turn 2 doesn't just push the envelope; it rips out the envelope's throat, skullfucks it while it's still flailing around in its death throes, then makes a casserole out of whatever's left...depraved and completely unrestrained. There's no hiding behind quick-cutting or dark, murky photography either; first-time director Lynch wants you to soak up every blood-spattered frame of it. The screenplay upends a lot of the usual clich├ęs while it's at it too. Normally you can put on a slasher flick and within ten minutes nail who's gonna die and even in what order, but in Wrong Turn 2, anyone can wind up hacked to bits at any time. I can't say I was all that emotionally invested in the reality show concept or the contestants on the bill, exactly, but the script is still sharply written enough not to require 'em all to be stupid people doing stupid things just to keep the story limping along. It really does all make some sort of sense, and...hell, even the inbred cannibals wind up with a pretty compelling reason to be...y'know, inbred cannibals. I mean, I don't know what this says about me as a person, but I dug the hell out of Wrong Turn 2 -- a twisted splatterfest with nothing even close to a moral compass guiding the way -- and if you're still reading this write-up, I guess that means the smart money says you probably will too. Thank you, Joe Lynch, for making us laugh at love...again. Highly Recommended.

Well, I'll say this: even though it was churned out with a fraction of the budget, this sequel still looks a whole helluva lot better than the original Wrong Turn. There's a smattering of video tossed around here, but Wrong Turn 2: Dead End was shot primarily on gritty Super 16mm. This was kind of a run-and-gun shoot, so it's not as if each setup had been meticulously lit for two and a half hours or anything. That leaves more than a couple of shots looking extremely soft and murky, and the 1.78:1 image as a whole isn't exactly overflowing with rich, fine detail. Even though most of the flick was shot on film, Wrong Turn 2 can't really shrug off a very digital, video-like look to it, with even the pervasive gritty texture frequently looking more like video noise. Oh well. High-def eye candy it's not so much -- and this Blu-ray will probably be a tough sell to anyone who's already forked over a credit card to grab it on DVD -- but I'd bet it's close enough to what Joe Lynch originally envisioned in that demented mind of his.

The 24-bit, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for Dead End isn't remotely as aggressive or overcaffeinated the way the original Wrong Turn is. The sound design's great, really -- especially the wet slosh to all those buckets of splatter -- but this is pretty much a stereo track. There's still some atmospheric color in the surrounds -- creaking planks of wood in the mutants' cabin, the light metallic rattle of whatever that is being knocked around by an afternoon wind, and flies buzzing around a shithole carved into a closet floor -- but it's kind of tame and doesn't ratchet up the intensity the way the lossless audio on the original flick does. Bass response is decent enough, especially the handful of explosions and the thundering toms in the score, although the audio overall rarely packs that full-bodied wallop I've kinda come to expect out of Blu-ray. This is an okay track but more routine than I waltzed in expecting.

The rest of the audio options are the same as they were the last time around too: a stereo surround track in Spanish, a lossy 5.1 French dub, and subtitles in English (SDH) and Spanish.

  • Audio Commentaries: Two commentary tracks have been piled onto this disc, and both are a ridiculous amount of fun and attack Wrong Turn 2 from completely different angles. First up are director Joe Lynch and actors Henry Rollins and Erica Leerhsen. Turns out that Leerhsen doesn't have all that much to say, but that's okay: Lynch and Rollins are up for shouldering the commentary themselves. From pointing out
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    a Bible being used as mutant toilet paper to Leerhsen accidentally biting a stuntman's neck to Lynch bonding with an actor by sharing a maggot snack with him, this track's a great listen.

    There's really not all that much overlap on the writers' commentary with Turi Meyer and Al Septien. The best thing to me about this quippy, self-deprecatory track is just how different Wrong Turn 2 might've ended up: originally eyeing Nina as pregnant, mulling over exactly what tattoo to zoom in on during the the other-other-white-meat barbecue, Fox frowning on a hillbilly father up in a deer blind watching his kids screwing, and the kinda familiar explosive ending they'd originally jotted down. Meyer and Septien also spell out the mutants' family tree, not that it exactly branches out all that much, and they run through some of the other premises they and Fox had lobbed out for the flick.

    Joe Lynch had actually recorded a third commentary track for Wrong Turn 2, but for whatever reason, Fox opted not to stick it on the DVD, and it didn't manage to claw its way onto this Blu-ray disc either. Oh well. Dread Central has it for download on their site, though, and it's definitely worth those couple of clicks. This more technically-oriented track is by far my favorite of the three, even: shooting without a second unit, why Lynch was so determined to shoot on Super 16 and how he convinced the studio to go along with it, sticking with practical effects whenever possible, his approach to direction, a longstanding fascination with zooms, fart sound design, the fake blood not looking so hot on this film stock, some of the specific stretches of Vancouver where the movie was shot... It's extremely thorough, but don't shrug off "technical" as some kind of code word for dry or boring. Nope, Lynch's infectious energy and enthusiasm keep this commentary screaming ahead for an hour and a half straight, and it's absolutely worth taking the time to download. Hell, even if you don't get around to picking up the movie, download this anyway and pretend it's a podcast or something.

  • Making Gore Look Good (12 min.; SD): "Making Gore Look Good" hacks its way through pretty much all of Wrong Turn 2's kills, spending a good bit of its runtime sloshing around in the splatter that opens the flick in particular. Also tackled here are the twisted designs of this inbred cannibal family, the groundbreaking SnorriCam kill that Joe Lynch had dreamed up, and filling a fake actor with ten gallons of entrails before blowing the holy hell out of 'im. A good bit of practical effects tests and footage from the set are tossed around here too.

  • More Blood, More Guts: The Making of Wrong Turn 2 (10 min.; SD): Leaning on "what scares you?" as a runner, this quick making-of featurette breezes through casting, each of the main characters, and the appeal of setting up shop in British Columbia.

  • On Location with P-Nut (2 min.; SD): 311's bassist shows off some behind-the-scenes footage he shot while hanging around on the set, and...hey! As luck would have it, P-Nut decided to trot over to Vancouver while they were shooting the inbred stump hump sequence.

The Final Word
Sticky, depraved, and sopping with literally three hundred gallons of the red stuff, Wrong Turn 2 is a throwback to all those cacklingly demented horror sequels that were being churned out back in the '80s. I don't think it'd be much of an upgrade for anyone who'd already grabbed the DVD when it came out a couple years back, but for high-def gorehounds that never got around to picking this one up...? Pretty much essential viewing. Highly Recommended.

Yeah, I Took Too Many Screenshots Again
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