Wrong Turn 2 Dead End (2007)
Directed by Joe Lynch

Starring Daniella Alonso Erica Leerhsen Henry Rollins Texas Battle

It's rare that a direct-to-DVD sequel surpasses the original, but given that "Wrong Turn" was far from a classic, it certainly was not impossible. Either it's direct-to-rental-shelves follow up was going to be a disaster or it was going to be helmed by someone that cared about the genre.

In this case, director Lynch clearly has passion for the genre. In fact, he seems to know revenge-horror quite well. This might be the best revenge-horror film in years. He's created thoroughly despicable mutant villains, and gives us the opportunity for a psychological catharsis as we see those villains dispatched. The movie is also the first one since probably Brian De Palma's "The Fury" to feature a full-fledged body explosion.

The film's first 45 minutes leaves much to be desired, however. In the films opening moments we are introduced to the first victim, a narcissistic film actress en route to her latest gig: Doing a "Survival"-like reality series in the woods. When she takes a wrong turn, she ends up hitting a pedestrian. What happens next proves Lynch's taste for gore, but it's also too intentionally campy. I feared I was watching a suck fest.

We're then introduced to the rest of the teenage/young adult characters heading out to the woods to film the reality series. They're led by a veteran military man, played with enthusiasm by Henry Rollins. The idea of the show is that it's some kind of survival after an apocalypse. So when bizarre events start happening involving mutants in the woods, the kids don't become too suspicious until it's too late. Also, as we get to know them, we start to care about them.

Lynch genuinely knows how to make us absolutely hate the screaming, deformed, in-bred hill billies that target the teens, moreso than Rob Schmidt did for the original film. "Wrong Turn 2" is one movie where you cheer the characters on when they score victories against their deformed enemy and actually feel for them when they are dispatched. The film shares a lot in common with "Rambo" as well as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." The "Texas"-style dinner scene at the end was a bit too derivative, but forgive-able. There's also a mutant baby in the movie. To make a long story short, Lynch is a talent.

One negative about the film, however, is that it looks like it was shot on video. Whether it was or wasn't, it looks like it was. Perhaps they saved the film stock budget to spend on gore effects, which are plentiful and quite well done. But shooting a movie on video even high-def digital is always a big negative when it comes to a release. But once you get over this you can thoroughly enjoy the film.

And enjoy it you will. Just make sure you get the "unrated" version.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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