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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (Blu-ray)
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (Blu-ray)
Fox // Unrated // September 15, 2009 // Region A
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted November 19, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Film:

Wrong Turn, for better or worse, isn't all that bad of a horror flick. It may do a lot of things on shaky ground within its grindhouse-inspired splattering, but the one thing that it gets right -- aside from expectedly strong, blood-in-dirt production value -- is achieving a thorough vein of tension. That's where the direct-to-video Wrong Turn 2: Dead End veers away from its predecessor, as its profuse reliance on grotesquery and kill elaborateness seeps the dread clean from its cadaver. Scary it's certainly not, but it might just get a few stomachs churning and heads rolling with laughter under the right circumstances.

After an admittedly satisfying and, dare I say, morbidly hilarious introduction featuring Kimberly Caldwell making the only "Wrong Turn" in Joe Lynch's picture (and getting "butterflied" in the process), it plants us in the middle of the woods with a bunch of reality TV show contestants competing for a large wad of cash. They're the "bread and butter" of clich├ęs -- a sensitive jock ala American Pie, a Ripley-like military woman, a bone-her-way-to-the-top actress, an annoying-as-hell male sex addict, among others -- scrambling around in the woods with trip sensors in place and cameras strapped onto their heads, all to create a war-game of sorts depicting an apocalyptic, radioactive end of the world. It's hosted by a burly ex-marine (Henry Rollins) who knows his way around a knife, which becomes highly beneficial once mutated hillbillies come out of the woods with hatchets, bows-'n-arrows, and a thirst for human flesh.

Wrong Turn 2 borders on a direct replication of that '80s rhythm of rolling heads and arterial fireworks, a construct in horror filmmaking that's directed more at gorehounds than thrill seekers. Though on a much lower level, it essentially relates to the original in the same way that James Cameron's Aliens relates to Ridley Scott's Alien -- far more action than terror. Instead of a tightly-knit group of twenty-somethings scrambling around the West Virginian woods that taps into an invested sense of worry for their outcome, we've got a slew of obnoxious, albeit not-so-dumb, characters that we'd actually love to see get torn to shreds by mutated mountain people. And, naturally, most of the annoying competitors bite the bullet. Yep, the setup is foolhardy at best, not to mention removed from the original film's premise, but at least it offers a smattering of stomach-churning gore once we've turned the bend following the eyeroll-worthy first act -- especially when we see Henry Rollins "Rambo" up and begin his tirade.

This time, Joe Lynch and his writing crew have opened the floodgate in answering questions about the inbreeding from the first Wrong Turn, as we're working with an actual family of facially-deformed, hungry, horny, thoroughly gag-worthy ghouls scrambling after the victims. We see their domestic disputes (a series of groans and yells), witness a birth, and watch them have dinner in a scene that's more than reminiscent of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Between the relentless gore and their interactions, the tension's just about non-existent; in all this, as well as considering the Caldwell sequence at the beginning, it does manage to inject a disturbing sense of humor into the formula. Opting to let laughs and blood and fly instead of leaving some under the skin for suspenseful chills, Wrong Turn 2 satisfies those craving macabre morbidity instead of hair-raising terseness.

The Blu-ray:

Video and Audio:

Fox's Wrong Turn Blu-ray isn't all that impressive, and their presentation of Wrong Turn 2 in 1080p doesn't improve that impression all that much. However, you've got to consider that it was shot on a $4m budget on 16mm stock, so the boost up to high-definition wouldn't be overwhelmingly pleasant anyway. It's a very, very muddy image, filled with a world of digital grain, macroblocking in shadows, and nearly no high-definition pop to be seen. Colors are correct and range of motion looks fine, but this happens to be one of the rare cases where little improvement can be seen over an upconverted DVD.

Thankfully, the DTS HD Master Audio track comes to the rescue in boosting the high-definition presentation up at least a notch or two. It encapsulates all the sound effects -- flying arrows, blood spatter, and the roar of a Mustang engine -- with plenty of clarity and composition. It all sounds fine and distortion-free, yet most of the activity is cradled at the front of the soundstage, only hopping to the rears in a handful of sequences. This audio track certainly isn't enough of a beacon for an upgrade, but it eases the blow behind the uninspiring transfer. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.

Special Features:

Two tracks are available -- one with director Joe Lynch and actors Erica Leerhsen and Henry Rollins, and another with writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien. Though the picture will satisfy and off-put others, these tracks are actually very dense and enlightening. Joe Lynch goes to great brevity in describing his direction, especially during the Texas Chainsaw-inspired scene late in the film, while Rollins and Leerhsen jump in throughout his stream on consciousnes for bits and pieces that reinforce what he's discussing. It's mostly Lynch and a world of inspired F-bombs, yet the material they cover sheds a fair amount of light on the production. The writers take a familiarly expository tone with their revelations, mostly expounding on story elements -- like Rollins' survivalist character and the radioactive ooze that caused it all.

Also available are a making of featurette on the gore effects entitled Making Gore Look Good (11:32), and an On Location with P-Nut (2:14) feature that goes behind-the scenes specifically during the "hump stump" sequence.

Final Thoughts:

Joe Lynch's Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is worth a Rental for its disturbed sense of humor and outlandish gore, not for any sense of dread within the forest. Instead of latching onto the tension of the first flick, the filmmakers opt for schlock over suspense by sending blood flying in all directions -- all adorned with some shiver-worthy sequences featuring the backwater mutants. Fox's Blu-ray doesn't look all that great, but the sound aspect helps the presentation a bit and the commentaries help it along into a worthwhile presentation.

Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site
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