Wrong Turn 2: Dead End
At first glance it probably seems that Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is a cheap knock off of the mildly successful Wrong Turn. The story even sounds rather pedestrian, a group of people on a reality show are dropped in the woods to see who can survive among the elements. The problem with this is nobody prepares for these deranged woodspeople to come out of the trees and start killing them. All of this sounds like we've seen it all before (and we have to some degree), yet Director Joe Lynch somehow manages to make this whole exercise feel really fresh. Obviously a fan of the 1980s slasher movies, this director infuses this film with an energy and style that actually bests the movie from which is came. This really isn't that great a feat because Wrong Turn really wasn't that special of a film. However, when a sequel manages to totally blow away its predecessor that should make viewers stand up and take note.
From the way Wrong Turn 2: Dead End manages to comment on Reality TV, horror movies from the past and present, and at the same time it continues to subvert our expectations, that makes the film somewhat special. Horror movies of this nature always seem to give us a character who seems like she's not meant to be with the group being stalked. Yet, that character ends up being the smartest. Well, Lynch and Co. put an end to all of that by axing her from the movie (literally) about 30 minutes in.
Now that is a good show!
This is a not a complete listing of the DVD features offered on this release because Fox only sent us a one screener DVD in a white envelope for this review.
Like all the directors that make a movie for Fox or have their films picked up from them, Lynch starts off this commentary by gushing over the Fox logo. Helping him along on this track are Henry Rollins and Erica Leerhsen, and the most amazing thing is that Joy Lynch is so psyched to be doing this he makes Rollins seem subdued. Lynch talks about the opening credits being an homage to 1980s sequels, how one of the actors Rollins had to yell at in a scene was stoked because he was a huge Black Flag fan, and Lynch even discusses sex in horror movies. Overall this conversation is led by Lynch who is still seems excited that he was given a chance to make this film. Knowing that he wasn't reinventing the wheel, he did his level best to effect how it turned.
Making Gore Look Good
Widescreen. Fox sent me this release in a white envelope so I really can't talk that specifically about the aspect ratio that was employed. I will say that everything sounded really solid. Also, when you factor in that this was a burned DVD that makes everything about the film's look even more impressive. Colorwise things were pretty tame, but I appreciated how Lynch utilized the camera to move around and introduce us to all the characters. Things started off really slick and then tempered a bit to tell the story and I think ultimately this really helped this movie.
As I have mentioned, I wasn't given the proper packaging for this release so again I don't know exactly what kind of audio was used. Knowing Fox it was probably some variety of Dolby. I loved that this movie didn't use in your face music that only came on when things were going bad for our main characters. The music wasn't the most memorable part of this movie (like it can be in a John Carpenter film), but I felt this whole experience really worked well to bring this story off.
Again, Since Fox sent me this release in nothing but a white envelope I really can't say anything about it.
The Final Word
Henry Rollins gives the best performance of his career in this movie. Okay, before you start yelling, "What about Heat?" Remember that we are talking about a performance that actually moves into double digits. As a former military officer, Rollins surprisingly doesn't play this character as a joke. At the same time, he isn't 100% serious but he is. I am not saying that he's going to be up for an award as former special forces operative Dale Murphy, but I think that fans of the actor will be surprised at what Henry Rollins manages to do. When you also take into account that he has no acting training (save for his work as the Black Flag front man and singer for other bands), that makes what he is doing here even more impressive.
I was just extremely impressed by what director Joe Lynch was able to achieve with this film. In many ways, except for the villains, this film in no way resembles the movie from whence it came. In fact, they most likely called it Wrong Turn 2: Dead End simply because that name would garner some recognition and push DVD sales. There's also good looking girls like their was in that first movie, but all of that honestly takes a backseat to this carnage driven thrillride.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is one good, 21st Century horror flick.