Victor Zinck Jr.
Red neck cannibal horror sequel
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Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)
4th Nov 11
Some holidaying idiots hide from a blizzard in an abandoned mental hospital. Hey wait. A bunch of inbred cannibals live there! Brilliant.
As a people, horror fans pride themselves on the ability to enjoy bad movies. There are fright flicks that are so bad they’re good and so bad they’re great but sometimes the most satisfying are those rare beasts that are great at being bad and Wrong Turn 4 is the best in a long time.
The Wrong Turn franchise’s motto appears to be “better than expected”. Rob Schmidt’s 2003 original took a decidedly restrained glossy approach to that dirtiest (literally) of sub-genres, the backwoods inbred hillbilly slasher. It’s moderate success paved the way for Joe Lynch’s tonal u-turn with a splattery Looney Tunes inspired sequel that’s one of the most entertaining of the past decade. While Wrong Turn 3 is a notable step down, it’s convicts vs. guards vs. hillbilly plot was novel enough to pass the time and make up for the lack of humour or memorable deaths. Declan O’Brien seems to have learned from his mistakes on that one as he returns for his second whack at the franchise, this time with a origin/prequel entry for no good reason other than too many of the inbred cannibalistic family have been killed off in previous instalments.
Wrong Turn 4 starts as it intends to go on, with atrocious acting, terrible dialogue and buckets of gore in a madhouse setting. We’re introduced to the three deformed brothers breaking from their cells and taking over the asylum. Flash forward to 2003 (...ok) where we meet the meat, eight annoying youths with a few traits to share amongst themselves, before they head off on a ski trip, take a wrong turn on their snowmobiles and hole up from a blizzard in the almost abandoned freak-wharf to await grisly deaths.
These characters are nigh on perfect slasher fodder, they’re horny (no less than four are introduced while shagging), obnoxious, paper thin and plenty stupid. It’s hilarious to watch them scramble around the snow covered crazy house making the dumbest decisions imaginable and an even greater pleasure to see them chopped, blended and at one point eaten fondue-style (they are awfully sophisticated cannibals it must be said). O’Brien and his possibly talentless, possibly genius cast walk the tight rope of making the gang suitably infuriating yet fascinatingly thick so you can’t take your eyes off them. Best is the token know-it-all Daniel, played with seemingly no knowledge of how humans speak by the creepily muscular man-child Dean Armstrong. I predict a strong place for this lad in horror fans “most enjoyably slappable characters” lists for years to come. His fate is a particular high-light which i won’t spoil here but rest assured it is the most darkly amusing sequence in the series to date.
The wintry backdrop and asylum setting make for a refreshing change for the franchise but O’Brien ensures nothing deviates from a winning formula. He keeps the action snappy and wastes no time delivering the goods to the point it feels that words like “motivation” and “logic” are truly foul words round his gaff. O’Brien knows what you’re here for and the man is more than happy to give it to you without making you think for one goddamn second. The gore gushes big time in Wrong Turn 4 with fun, revolting effects and the sadistic joy with which the terrible trio dispatch their guests is rightfully infectious.
For those times when watching a proper good horror movie seems like too much hard work, Wrong turn 4 is here to please as speedily and shamelessly as possible. The audacious transparency with which it moves from A to B should be studied in film schools as a lesson that a mistake done right is well worth repeating. It’s exactly what it’s meant to be: unadulterated unpretentious gory good times. Predictions for Wrong Turn 5: The cannibals either take over a police station, a missile silo, a supermarket, a theme park, a midget rodeo or possibly a space station. Can’t wait.