Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed Wrong Turn. An intriguingly 70s style shocker with passable performances (special mention must go to Eliza Dushku’s vest) and some good makeup work by the late great Stan Winston, it was enjoyable, undemanding grimy entertainment, and a darn sight scarier than the glossy Platinum Dunes Texas Chainsaw remake.
I kind of let the second instalment pass me by, which is why I jumped at the chance to watch the newest chapter, with a sense of ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ Well, it appears not much worse can happen than having to suffer through this diabolically awful film.
As the film starts, it’s business as usual in slasher-ville. A group of (typically) horny college students are on a white water rafting trip. Without warning, they are attacked by the only remaining character from the original films, Three Finger. As they attempt an escape they are picked off one by one leaving Alex (the clichéd ‘straight’ girl of the group) as the sole survivor, lost and fending for herself in the forest whilst Three Finger and his brethren Three Toes make messy work of the remains of her friends.
Two days later in a prison that’s half Prison Break and half Porridge, a surprise transfer is about to deliver the most dangerous criminals to a higher security facility on the other side of the mountain (see where this is going now?).
The prison guard, Nate Wilson, is one job away from joining law school and knows the area from his childhood (which is convenient). The prisoners are identikit characters: the gruff bald tattooed one, the sarcastic horny one and (the only cast member I recognised) the tough South American one played by Tamer Hassan.
Of course, the transfer doesn’t go smoothly and Three Finger attacks the bus and the prisoners escape to hide in the woods and, essentially, await their grisly demise.
As the prisoners and Nate discover Alex hiding in the woods, they also discover an armoured van full of money. The origin of this is not properly explained. Is it a previously attacked van? Is it a lure for unsuspecting greedy convicts? It is now!
But, like a gruesome version of Lotto game, the money that is looted looks to be separated between less and less people as the mountain men hunt and slaughter almost everyone except Nate, Alex and Brandon (the con who insists he is innocent of murdering his family, the con with a heart of gold) who survive long enough to kill Three Fingers and escape with the remnants of the cash.
Whilst not having great expectations for this direct to DVD sequel, the film is sloppily made and poorly directed. The cast are awful, especially Tamer Hassan who spends the whole film looking like he is missing Danny Dyer. His South American accent consists of saying “homes” a lot – but sounds more like he is South American via Brixton. Janet Montgomery is probably the most convincing actress in the entire film, but all that is required of her is to stare in blind wide-eyed panic whilst covered in blood or scream, again whilst covered in blood.
I thought the gore would at least be satisfying, but even here the film is a letdown with sub computer game CGI and poor practical effects (check out when the cannibals are setting the big wooden spike trap. As one of them knocks one of the, apparently, razor sharp solid wood spikes it bends!). The mountain men themselves look poor in comparison with the earlier work, more sponsored by Playdoh than designed by a special effects master.
Story-wise this could have been quite interesting in a Hills Have Eyes remake type of way. But the script is bad, with clichéd ideas and terrible dialogue, especially the college characters at the beginning: “Do you think I’m a slut?” “Why, yes, Hun. That’s why I like you.” Hilarious. And the shocking twist at the end just makes no sense.
I presume they are planning to make another, but instead of “Left For Dead” this title should be “Left in the Shop”…
Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.