Case Number 17829: Small Claims Court


Fox // 2009 // 92 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // December 3rd, 2009

The Charge

What you don't see will kill you.

The Case

As titles go, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead pretty much tells you everything you need to know: a wrong turn is taken, people end up dead, and there have been three of these terrible movies made thus far. Knowing this, it would be wise to take your person as far away from this film as possible -- a wrong turn indeed.

A group of prisoners are being transferred by corrections officer Nate Wilson (Tom Frederic) to another prison, including the dangerous Chavez (Tamer Hassan) and other degenerate lowlifes. The prison van is run off the road by a crazed mutant hillbilly who begins to hunt the inmates for food. As the prisoners and guards try to survive in the woods, they encounter a frightened girl, Alex (Janet Montgomery), whose friends had been killed by the same monster while on a rafting trip. Welcome to West Virginia.

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead is like watching a horror film in fast forward. Every single cliché gets busted out within the first five minutes. By the four minute mark, the chick with the huge rack is topless, and by the five minute mark, she's extremely dead. The film goes so far as to actually warn itself, with one character advising the other to watch out for crazed banjo-playing hillbillies in the woods. Not thirty seconds later, one appears and slaughters them all. Enjoy this quick sojourn into ridiculousness, because within ten minutes, audiences will be bored stiff.

I've seen a lot of bad horror films in my day, but I can't remember any of them because this atrocious film has bleached my memory. I now detest the horror genre as a whole, for having descended into such a depressing state of affairs to necessitate the production and distribution of Wrong Turn 3. The sheer staleness and predictability of the plot will wring any enjoyment from you like squeezing a sponge. As villains go, Three Fingers (as he is charmingly known) is dreadful -- an overall-clad Deliverance reject warped and mutated like a background extra from The Hills Have Eyes, leaping about and cackling like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. He sets traps for his enemies in the woods, kills people and eats them, which makes zero sense considering he has full access to a tow truck and could easily go to a drive-through window or a grocery store for a snack.

Having exhausted a steady supply of nubile teens, the script tries to mix things up by having the hapless protagonists replaced by prison inmates and correctional officers. You'd think having a bunch of burly, hardened criminals armed with shotguns and handguns in the woods would give them a tactical advantage over a three-fingered mutant hillbilly, but no dice -- he punches through them like tinfoil. One at a time, they stumble into traps that dismember them in increasingly improbable ways, and somehow it gets less entertaining each time. With zero sympathetic or interesting characters, this is a run down the clock situation. When no one is interested in who gets stabbed by the mutant hick, you're pretty much dead in the water, as far as building dramatic tension.

The acting is heartfelt, but wasted. I'll give it to the cast; they're trying their best. Alas, their collective efforts amount to little more than tossing a deck chair over the edge of the sinking Titanic -- too little, too late. The lead jerk, Chavez, is particularly onerous, hamming it up with such vitriol and nastiness it's almost hard not to cheer him on. I think we're supposed to hate the guy, but he's actually the best part of the film.

I admit to not seeing any of the previous Wrong Turn movies, but I can't imagine them being particularly good after watching this. If this is what the horror industry has sunk to, it's no wonder that the Japanese and the French routinely kick out films we could only dream of making. I'm all for a good horror movie, but I want something that pushes the envelope -- not a bloated and cheap parody.

We received a watermarked screener copy of Wrong Turn 3 -- looking like Swiss cheese in the fidelity department -- so I can't provide any real evaluation on technical specs. Our 5.1 audio track featured reasonable bass response and an energetic if redundant score that tried vainly to rouse the tension with sweeping strings and bass pulsing. It also included Dolby 2.0 tracks in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, and English, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. The screener extras consisted of a short making-of featurette (18 min) and two deleted scenes.

A direct-to-DVD dud, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead drives a flaming nail into the coffin of the franchise. There is no reason for you to own, rent or watch this movie. The only scary thing is that they made two others installments before this.

The Verdict

I've only got one finger for Three Finger. Guess which one.

Review content copyright © 2009 Adam Arseneau; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 39

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)

* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Featurette

* IMDb