Jordan Lester’s review published on Letterboxd:
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 going straight to DVD/VOD), the franchise hit a roadblock of trying to refresh the story & 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.
Following friends hiking the Appalachian 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. Whilst this is happening we also see a father, Scott (Matthew Modine), search for his daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega) who is amongst 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 being the most delved into, in 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 for 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 & 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 & black characters are treated the same in the grand scheme of the film which is so refreshing considering that horror films have a all or nothing approach for diversity mostly.
While the film certainly is a bit muddled throughout and has a hard time balancing the little nuanced characters & stories, it’s nonetheless the most meaningful of the series. A film that would benefit from a theatrical release no doubt, but will only see a one night release in theaters then a roll-out on VOD in February.
Review originally written for publishing in The Daily Record newspaper & online publication.