Fox // 2011 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard // October 21st, 2011
"No offense, doctor, but these are beyond your kind of therapy -- musical or otherwise!"
Horrifically disfigured, gingivitis-ridden inbreds go on a bloody rampage in Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, the latest entry in the semi-popular horror franchise. Acting as a prequel to the original Wrong Turn, this presents the origins of Three Finger (Sean Skene) and his family of murderous cannibals. Opening at a mental asylum, Wrong Turn 4 quickly shows how Three Finger, One-Eye (Dan Skene), and Saw-Tooth (Scott Johnson), escaped their incarceration and began their murderous reign of terror. As is customary, a group of young adults out on a trip lose their way and end up seeking refuge at the now-abandoned asylum, just in time for dinner. Unfortunately for them, they're on the menu.
It seems futile discussing Wrong Turn 4 in terms of its characters or story; clearly neither was at the forefront of writer-director Declan O'Brien's thoughts when making the film. This is a movie with only one intention: to gross you out. Whether it be the gory kills or the deformed psychopaths -- who make Sloth out of The Goonies look like Brad Pitt -- it's fair to say that, on these terms, the film is something of a success. O'Brien's direction is certainly focused, with each and every action serving only to move us closer to the next kill. With a reasonably large cast of victims in waiting, only a handful are given anything resembling a memorable character trait -- unless you count utter stupidity, which everyone in this movie shares. Sara (Tenika Davis) and Bridget (Kaitlyn Wong) are an extremely horny lesbian couple, while Vincent (Sean Skene) enjoys nothing more than acting the fool and winding up Bridget over her sexual orientation ("That's right, Bridget, you don't do hotdogs, do you?"). As the character roster is thinned out, previously lesser characters are brought to the fore and given their chance to shine -- that is until they have their innards ripped out, and are replaced by another character. On and on it goes, the circle of life in full effect.
Wrong Turn 4 is not a horror film in the traditional sense. Rather, it omits genuine scares in favor of gore -- lots of it -- oh, and naked breasts (Can't have a horror movie without a little nudity, can we?). The pre-credits sequence alone features a woman having her brain fried, a security guard having half his face eaten off, and a doctor being hung, drawn, and quartered, all in graphic detail. Although there is a little CGI employed -- something that has no place in a slasher movie -- the practical effects work in Wrong Turn 4 is excellent. From the gnarly makeup effects on the killers to the severed limbs and decapitations, it's hard not to be impressed by the work the special effects team have put in. The most impressive sequence, and in turn the most memorable part of the movie, sees one victim sliced up -- piece by piece -- as his body parts are boiled in a pot along with a selection of vegetables. Sure these killers may be nuts, but at least they're enjoying a balanced diet.
The biggest problem with Wrong Turn 4 is pretty much the same problem that plagued Wrong Turn 3, and that is the lack of a memorable killer. Apart from eating their victims, these cannibalistic forest dwellers do nothing but run around laughing maniacally, occasionally employing the use of power tools to aid them in their search for a hearty meal. The film hurtles along at a decent enough pace, but thanks a total lack of originality it never really holds the viewer's full interest.
Though the film is somewhat lacking, the screener sent for review reveals a quality DVD. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer features excellent black levels, a high level of detail, and a sharp, colorful, image. The 5.1 soundtrack contains crisp dialogue, along with a generic, though effective, score.
Director Declan O'Brien provides a commentary track, accompanied by Producer Bret Levisohn. The track sees the two having plenty of fun, and also reveals a Hitchcock homage in the final act that many will have missed. Next up we have the "Director's Die-ary's," which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. The "Making Another Wrong Turn" featurette discusses the popularity of the series, and the motivation in making this latest entry. "Lifestyles Of The Sick And Infamous" has the cast and crew talk a little about the location chosen for the mental asylum in which much of the action takes place, while the "Deleted Scenes" does exactly what it says on the tin. Finally, The Blackout City Kids' music video for their song, "Wrong Turn" is featured.
Perhaps I'm getting old, but gallons of gore are simply not enough for me anymore. Give me something resembling a decent story at least, or some humor. Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings is a marked improvement over the previous installment, but there's nothing here to really recommend it to anyone but diehard fans of the franchise.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Video