I’ve been a long time fan of Henry Rollins, so when I saw that he was starring in the horror sequel “Wrong Turn 2” I knew that no matter how bad the movie might possibly be, there was at least one thing I would like about it. I just hoped it wouldn’t be so disastrous as to damage Henry’s credibility, because after all, he spends a lot of time criticizing others for making stupid decisions. After watching the movie, I’m happy to say that I still have complete faith in Henry’s judgement and his assumed authority to ridicule the general population’s lack of intelligence remains unquestionably intact.
The original “Wrong Turn” was a moderate box-office success that paved the way for possible attempts to recreate that success in the form of sequels. This situation is usually a crap shoot as a majority of said sequels end up as direct-to-DVD releases with less than stellar reviews. This fact may be a handicap that the sequel “Wrong Turn 2” had been saddled with from the get-go, because it didn’t receive much respect when it was being produced. As a result, and I believe no reflection on the actual movie itself, it skipped the box office and went straight to DVD and b-movie purgatory, the Syfy channel.
“Wrong Turn 2” was definitely not your typical half-assed b-movie sequel. This was immediately evident in the fact that director Joel Lynch made the decision to not take the subject matter of the movie too seriously. The plot of the movie revolves around six “Survivor”-type reality show contestants who, while trying to survive in the wilderness of West Virginia, accidentally cross paths with a large family of inbred, deformed, superhuman cannibal mutants. Added to this group is Henry Rollins who plays the host of the reality show, Retired Marine Colonel Dale Murphy, a character who could give R. Lee Ermey’s Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann a run for his money.
The first half of the movie mainly centers around getting to know the intentionally stereotypical contestants so that you actually care about whether they die or not, and in my opinion, this is the best part of the movie. The character’s personalities are displayed to the viewer in a rapid-fire manner with plenty of inside jokes and innuendos that keep the movie rolling at an entertaining pace that would engross even the most ADD-challenged viewer.
The stereotypes represented here are the cold-hearted “gothy” tough girl, the shy but logical “good girl” producer turned unwilling contestant, the lesbian hard-ass Marine, the all-American jock good guy, the slut trying to make it big in Hollywood using her ‘assets’, and the only seriously annoying character – the ‘stuck on himself’, thinks-he’s-funny-but-he’s-not wanna-be skater boy. The verbal interplay between these characters is genius. It pokes fun at the stereotypes, as well as reality show contestants in general. In fact, the first 10 minutes or so of the movie centers on a character played by Kimberly Caldwell, a contestant on the 2nd season of American Idol, that actually pokes fun at herself and other reality show wanna-be Hollywood ‘stars’. I was actually impressed by her acting in her brief, but memorable opening sequence and her ability to poke fun at herself increased my respect for her tremendously.
As far as the inbred mutants go, their main purpose is to provide the massive amounts of gore that this movie throws at the audience. If you have a weak stomach, no matter how cheesy the special effects are, the loud squishing sounds with gallons of fake blood and guts may still be too much for you to handle. Creatively impossible mutilations abound as the rednecks delight at finding new ways to torture their victims before cooking them for the family dinner. The redneck mutants themselves are hideous, but not in a realistically terrifying way. In fact, they came across more like ‘Muppets gone wrong’ to me…their deformed features looking a little too plastic and synthetic to be truly terrifying.
The second half of the movie pretty much shows the reality show contestants realizing what is actually going on, and trying to escape the clutches of the Muppet rednecks. This part was a little tedious as the smart-ass interactions between the contestants in the first half, was replaced with close-ups of the rednecks chomping, chewing andcutting away at the human flesh they were dining on for basically the whole second half of the movie. The movie could have been equally entertaining throughout if they had meshed the first and secondhalves together a little bit better. The second half needed more of the humorous one-liners to prevent it from slipping into the typical b-movie hacker/slasher formula that gets a bit tedious when dragged out too long. It was a mish-mosh of continuous killing and maiming that eventually got confusing, focusing too much on the interactions of the mutants which didn’t actually make much sense to those of us who are not mentally challenged by exposure to toxic waste.
Of course, the best part of the whole movie was the performance by the highly esteemed badass Henry Rollins. Personally, I know that if I was lost in a wilderness full of inbred cannibal mutants, I’d want Henry there to protect my ass. Immediately at the beginning of the movie when Henry’s character narrates the opening to the reality show “Ultimate Survivor: Apocalypse”, you know he’s delivering his part with the same intensity as he would one of his “Spoken Word” performances.
Henry has the best lines, and the most awesome fight scenes that I’ve seen in any horror b-movie. When Henry goes fist-to-cleft-lip with the inbred cannibals, it’s almost a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ homage to a virtual “redneck Matrix”. And nothing can beat Henry getting shot with 2 arrows and then barking at the Old Man Mutant “Is that all you got, Bitch?” Unfortunately at that point, Henry gets killed by a razor-wire chain that one of the mutants throws around his throat. Henry doesn’t have the unfair advantage of superhuman regeneration powers from drinking toxic waste that the mutants do and he ultimately must succumb in the end.
Two of the contestants escape with their lives, the bitchy tough girl and the empathetic jock, thinking they’ve killed all the mutants, but of course at the end there’s foreshadowing about a baby mutant and a caretaker that survived, leading up to the fact that there is a “Wrong Turn 3” being released on Oct. 20th. Personally, I think it would have been more satisfying to have Henry Rollin’s character as the lone survivor and then he could continue the franchise, giving it a much higher chance future success. Overall, “Wrong Turn 2” was a huge surprise and it was a shame that it was straight-to-DVD when much more ridiculous horror sequels have made it to the box office. I give it 4.5 out of 5 cheese wedges for being consistently entertaining and providing an intelligent level of cheesiness by knowingly poking fun at itself…sort of a constant wink in the direction of the viewer while simultaneously satisfying our horror fix with plenty of gore and cannibal mutants.