Friday, October 26, 2007

Wrong Turn 2

I was a bit on the fence about getting this until I saw BC’s glowing review of it over at Horror Movie a Day and felt I had to check it out. I’m glad I did, as this wound up being one of the best horror movies of the year.

The West Virginian mutant cannibals from the first film are back, but this time, rather than merely doing the standard horror sequel thing and copy the plot of the first film, we get a group that’s out there filming a reality show called the Ultimate Survivalist Apocalypse. The whole premise is milked for all it’s worth; with Henry Rollins hosting the show as a retired colonel and a long set of rules to explain how they’re supposedly in a post-apocalyptic wasteland fighting to be the last survivor (a concept that leads what is by far the most annoying character to assume this story of mutant cannibals killing one of their friends to be a hoax perpetuated for the show, though he is able to figure it all out quickly enough). The music works well with this conceit, as it is exactly the type of awful music you always hear in the background of terrible MTV style reality shows, with lots of soft drum machine work to fill up the gaps in between dialogue.

As befitting a horror sequel, the violence has been ratcheted up a notch. The original was no slouch in this department, either, but here we get such things as a character with their lower mouths bitten off, a character who gets their back sliced open enough that their spine is exposed, and a character tied up with barbed wire. We even get some pretty shocking deaths in this, too; there was one character that I would never have thought would have died, and another character who I had a feeling was going to but who I was really hoping would live all the same. It’s a bit uncommon in a slasher movie to actually care about any of the characters, really, so it was a rather pleasant surprise here.

I was serious earlier when I said this was one of the best horror movies of the year. Grindhouse, Bug, and Black Sheep are the only three I can think of that I liked more (and Black Sheep apparently came out last year), so this would be the best straightforward one. That this would go straight to video while drivel like Halloween and 28 Weeks Later would not only get theatrical releases, but would actually do good business, is a borderline criminal offense. If you have any interest in slasher movies at all, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Rating: ****

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