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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WRONG TURN (article first published : 2004-03-23)

A B-movie slasher flick owing heaps to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn is of minor note only for its embarrassing gaffs in editing and the chuckles one gets from the grunts and groans made by its trio of deformed villains.

Featuring a totally unremarkable cast of young unknowns and little-knowns, the film, by one Rob Schmidt, revolves around a group of campers who, having driven their car over barbed wire left in a dirt road in an eerie West Virginia woods, cross paths with a medical student. Having taken the same dirt road as a shortcut to an important meeting, the student's vehicle bashes into the campers' car, leaving all stranded and not sure of their whereabouts.

So they pair up and head off down a windy road, looking for a telephone to call for help. However, one by one they start to disappear - and grunting and harrumphing from the bushes, into which our increasingly bloody young victims are dragged, indicates something nasty is on the prowl.

When the youngsters reach a creaky wooden home in the middle of nowhere, a place surrounded by station wagons and camping gear, they start to get suspicious - and their worst fears are realised when they discover body parts in fridges and are surprised by, and have to hide from, a trio of inbred uglies.

Grunting and looking like the Orcs from The Lord the Rings, the troll-like killers throw our youngsters into instant panic and the story hits its stride with the brothers grim brandishing axes and arrows in their pursuit of the terrified twentysomethings.

This is the most formulaic of films, with few surprises other than those continuity botch-ups referred to earlier. In one scene one of the characters is shown walking with his girlfriend, a fresh orange flower attached to his necklace. Then, in the very next scene, we see him without the flower and see the girlfriend picking it for him and attaching it to the necklace. Huh?

There are also continuity gaffs involving a girl sitting on a car bonnet. One second she has both knees up, then one, then both again - all in the same series of shots. Tut, tut! Rating: 5/10. - Billy Suter




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