This reboot of the well-known Wrong Turn series was directed by Mike P. Nelson, best known for 2018’s The Domestics, a post-apocalyptic action thriller.
Starring Charlotte Vega as Jen, Mathew Modine as Jen’s father Scott, and Bill Sage as Venable. Also featuring Adain Bradley as Darius, Dylan Mctee as Adam, Adrian Favela as Luis and Tim DeZarm as Nate Roades. Mathew Modine who is perhaps best known for his starring role as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket delivers a solid performance, albeit a smaller supporting role.
The other standout character of Venable is played by actor Bill Sage who has a long resume in television and movies, most recently best known for his role in 2013’s “We Are What We Are”.
In all truthfulness I initially assumed that this film was going to be just another rehashing of the same old tired premise of deformed country-folk, stalking and killing the main characters for no good reason. Thankfully, I was wrong and this film drew me in, threw me a few twists and turns, and held my attention all the way through to the end.
Now to be clear, this IS NOT the same storyline of the pre-existing Wrong Turn film series which is about an inbred family of cannibals who hunt and kill people in the woods of West Virginia. This reboot is about a centuries-old cult that responds violently to the people intruding on their secretive civilization deep in the heart of the mountains.
Approximately the first 1/3 of the movie felt all too familiar with the typical horror movie tropes. We are introduced to the main characters who are (predictably) a culturally diverse mixture of good-looking young friends. They are together to group-hike a section of the famous Appalachian Trail. These characters include the athletic narcissist who’s too quick to run his mouth insulting strangers and the sweet girlfriend who just wants him to love her back.
Then, there’s the lead actress who appears naïve and good but makes sure to let you know she grew up being comfortable outdoors and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, etc., etc. I’m sure many people will understand the images I am describing to set the scene. As the title clearly predicts, the group of hikers will inevitably take a wrong turn someplace which will put them onto a path wrought with danger, fear, and death.
After the initial bits of character development and storyline foreshadowing, the movie begins delivering a distinct feeling of tension, and dread. The first on-screen kill left little to the imagination and delivered in terms of gore and shock value in my opinion, which I happen to be a huge fan of. From there, the storyline makes a decided detour (pun intended) from mundane to action-packed. The friends find themselves suddenly thrust into a fast-moving chain of events which will see only the strong survive and the weak struck down like prey. The gore and violence don’t stop with the first kill and continue straight through to the end.
I was especially impressed with the performance of Charlotte Vega who plays the lead character, Jen. Vega, who was born and raised in Spain to Spanish and British parents, is multilingual and is best known for her roles in international productions such as The Refugees and Another Me. Her acting was compelling and convincing. I found myself cheering for her character at various points of the film, and I hope to see her in future American productions.
All in all, on a scale of 1-5, I would rate this film a solid 4 of 5 for me personally. In my opinion, the minor drawbacks to the movie were that some of the acting and storyline seemed a bit mundane and predictable at the beginning. An example of this is a character lightheartedly smiling and chuckling shortly after a friend is brutally killed. Otherwise, however, the film had excellent photography, good acting overall, and a fresh take on the premise of the familiar “Wrong Turn” series of movies.