Wrong Turn has the unique distinction of easily being one of horror’s most forgettable franchises. It all started back in 2003 with the first film, which followed several adventurers as they were silently stalked and ruthlessly murdered by a bunch of backwater, inbred cannibals. Since then, every so often, another installment is quietly released to add to the terrifying mediocrity that is modern horror. Almost a full decade later, director Declan O’Brien, the man behind installments three and four, is back with Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines. Not much has changed about the franchise: same flat characters, same barely passable storytelling, and the same giddy gore one has come to expect from the franchise.
Honestly, the flat characters are almost forgivable, given that character development has never been a strong suit of the slasher sub-genre. Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines tries to toy with the character archetypes of horror, but with the minimal development that is given, it’s attempts to subvert the trends of the genre fall flat. Still, considering that in most of these horror films, the cast is replaced in the next film, it’s understandable that not much time is spent fleshing out the victims. However, one of Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines’ most unforgivable offenses is its lack of development for its villains. After all, most horror films are only as strong as their killers. Even in the most mediocre franchises, like what the Hellraiser franchise has become, the filmmakers know they need their Pinhead. Halloween has its Michael Myers. A Nightmare on Elm Street has Freddy Krueger. Wrong Turn has… cannibalistic, redneck, mutants? That’s just a guess because after watching virtually all of these films, I’m no closer to understanding the villains of this series. In fact, it was only after turning on subtitles that I realized any of these creatures had names. Granted, they seem to be hastily thought of nicknames, but they serve as identifiers nonetheless.
However, the lack of any depth, origin, or backstory whatsoever isn’t the only fault in Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines’ handling of these creatures. In the first film of the franchise, the creatures were seen briefly as they darted in front of the camera. The audience would only see glimpses of their deformities, at least until the third act. With Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines, there is no build-up, no drawn-out tension and uncertainty about these creatures. The film shows them to us straight away. As a result, there’s not much for the audience to fear when the uncertainty is removed. Furthermore, the unquestionable ridiculousness of their appearance detracts from any minimal sense of terror. These killers are dressed in the cheapest, dime store costumes which does even less to establish their menace than their lack of backstory.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is filled with faults, but the film does have one thing going for it. It is pure unabashed, shameless gory fun. It’s not scary. It’s not even suspenseful. Still O’Brien clearly has way too good of a time coming up with creative kills that defy logic or conventional wisdom. This doesn’t diminish the staggered storytelling or the porn-grade acting. Make no mistake, Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is not a good movie in any sense of the word. Still, if you and a group of people are looking for the kind of movie that’s fun to watch in a group and allows plenty of talking in between the death scenes, Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines might be up your alley, if for no other reason, than the sheer laugh factor.
It’s hard to recall a scary movie that fails to scare on so many levels. Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is truly a mess of a movie. Still, the horror fan in me that craves the unrealistically heightened level of violence that Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines has to offer, had a little bit of fun with this movie. From a narrative standpoint, there’s not much to defend in this movie, but like I said, if you’re looking for a straight=up body count, you could do worse than Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines. Maybe give it a rent on a movie night with plenty of friends and plenty of booze, it’d probably be most enjoyable that way.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines was released on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack and DVD on October 23, 2012.