Hell, I liked “Wrong Turn.” It was, by my book, an underrated and sadly obscure little horror flick that really deserved to be looked at from a different perspective. Yes, I bitch about movies being recycled, and cliché, and awfully rehashed, but when it’s done with enough entertainment value as “Wrong Turn” was, I can be forgiving. “Wrong Turn” has been done before and better, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a blast. Suffice it to say, I was excited for “Dead End.” Would it be a direct take off from the original, or would it be a name only sequel? Is “Dead End” the original title before Lion’s Gate slapped on “Wrong Turn 2”? That was the only horrific element of this viewing experience: the anticipation and the guessing. The only truly good thing to look forward to was the presence of Henry Rollins.
Speaking of which, have I mentioned how much of a fan I am of Rollins. Whether playing dingus in “Feast,” or complete bad ass attention whore here, Rollins is in full throttle as the military host/Rambo clone of the newest reality show. The hook is that a group of folks are taking part in a reality show in the backwoods of anywhere, Hicksville USA where they must face challenges and survive, while they don’t realize that they’re all being hunted by the mutant brothers from our original horror entry. I’m glad the writers finally realized what a goofy premise the entire movie brings, so in turn they deliver us dark comedy and camp. It’s just too bad that most of it is utterly dead on arrival with some plot twists that just out and out suck. I’m still wondering whose idea it was to mimic the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” dinner table scene. I’m still curious why the writers felt delving into the lives of the mutant brothers and the extended family would be interesting. It’s not, it actually makes up most of the film’s pure stupidity, and is never interesting.
There’s a cheesy romance, and attempted bonding between brothers, all of which are just utterly excruciating to sit through. The attempts at depicting the brothers as an actual family are just utter padding with a wasted gauge at sympathy for no pure reason. I didn’t care where they came from, I just wanted to see them kill people. Besides, it blatantly dismisses all the hints in the former film that there were just three brothers living alone. But no, we’re introduced to mutant sisters, mutant mothers, mutant role models and the inevitable source of it all that’s introduced as probably the most obvious plot twist I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. If that’s not enough, the constant references to “Battle Royale” don’t float this above mediocre, and capture none of the nihilism of the aforementioned title, especially since most of it is a cliché redoing of “Halloween: Resurrection” which isn’t saying much considering this entire premise is derivative of most psycho hillbilly films made.
Not only does the premise suck, but the effects on the mutants are severely lacking in the flair that Stan Winston brought to the original; rather than look like mutant hillbillies, they resemble disfigured hobos most of the time with the prosthetics becoming painfully obvious. I wanted to love this. While sure the concept is rehashed, “Wrong Turn 2” has a surprising sense of humor about itself. Along the way it allows us to glimpse as voyeurs to these individuals gruesome murders, all the while squeezing in the military formula for modern sequels a la “Aliens.” We’re given the usual body counts of weirdos, Goths, and the obligatory comic relief, while also presented with the virginal heroine and the soldiers all simultaneously. The real show here is the gore and Henry Rollins doing his best Rambo impression and both meet expectations.
Rollins is the lug head you expect to die a quick and painful death in the opening, but lo and behold, Lynch has better plans for him and he entertains on all levels. The rest of the walking targets are fun to watch quite often. I really enjoyed much of the half assed sub-plots, from the Lesbian commando, to the whiny producer, all of these people deserved vicious deaths and I wasn’t let down. “Wrong Turn 2” is awful, but it’s also a lot of fun, and I simply couldn’t completely hate it. Much like the original, this is a pure horror guilty pleasure that thankfully doesn’t take itself seriously. The writers seem to catch on here how silly the premise is, so any hopes of a tense horror flick will be a fool’s journey. Overall, thanks to Henry Rollins, and the entertaining premise, it’s ultimately so bad that it’s good.