2003’s WRONG TURN may have not set the world on fire, but for many horror fans it was a welcome return to grittier, gorier terrain after years of clean cut thrills. Mere months after it exited theaters, the TEXAS CHAINSAW reboot would sweep in to gather all the glory, but for those fortunate enough to catch it during its poorly advertised run, WRONG TURN was the first sign that the hills were no longer alive with the sound of muzak. Home video caught stragglers up to speed and by the time WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END was delivered in 2007, a welcoming audience was waiting for a second course.
What horror fans could not possibly be prepared for was the fact that WT2, a straight to DVD venture starring HENRY ROLLINS and involving a phony reality show was (holy crap) actually pretty awesome. Whatever drop in quality there may have been from the first film was made up for with shear ingenuity, buckets of blood and a too rare awareness of what makes a horror film fun. Suddenly from a theatrical film that barely made a dent, it looked like a worthwhile series could be forming…
Well, there’s a bit of a roadblock now in the WRONG TURN franchise and it’s called WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD. Unless it was solely created to point out just how rare a treat PART 2 was, PART 3 of WRONG TURN fails wildly. After a lively opening scene that had me wishing that those handling the reigns of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise were watching and taking notes, it’s pretty much a downhill downer whose mantra seems to be, “Less, less, less!” Let me tell ya’ something DECLAN O’BRIEN, director of WRONG TURN 3, if you can’t keep yours truly’s attention with a bus load of burly escaped convicts then there’s more than one mentally handicapped mutant in them there woods (the other would be you). Geez, if I have to see another movie where constant bickering and bellyaching passes as dialogue, I’m going to throw my television set out the window. What am I watching here, THIRTYSOMETHING? (Actually Hope and Michael Steadman could have beat the crap all of the “hardened” criminals featured in WT3)
Whatever your fears may be of renting a direct to DVD sequel, they are all fully realized here. The writing is snorable, the acting is mostly horrible (main guys TOM FREDERIC & TOM McKAY are decent enough even when forced to deliver a regrettable epilogue) and the special effects, which a film like this could have ridden on, look outlandishly amateurish and hobbled by CGI. Most mind blowing of all is a reliance on what looks like ancient blue screen for almost all of the shots involving a moving vehicle. Seriously I haven’t seen anything this bad since Granny rode on top of the car in THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.
This could be a worthwhile rental if you are looking for something to rip to shreds with your friends and have a desire to throw emptied beer cans at the screen but, as a follow-up to the first two films, it’s a bit of an embarrassment and a definite wrong turn in an otherwise promising series. Poor “Three Fingers,” you deserve more!