Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
by Jason Coffman
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And so the Wrong Turn franchise has reached its fourth installment, which in this case is The Prequel. After a promising opening segment that teases the film will actually take place decades before the other films, Wrong Turn 4 jumps ahead to what seems like a week or two before the first film, so any hope of getting an origin story on the series’ cannibal hillbillies goes out the window pretty much right away. But I suppose that makes sense, given that this is more the type of sequel that just hopes to deliver more or less the same thing that made the previous installments popular, and besides, trying come up with all those 1970s costumes would have taken forever and totally wouldn’t have been worth the effort, right?
In the year of 2003, a group of college students head to a remote cabin for some hard partyin’. However, on the way there, they take a wrong turn (see what they did there?) and end up instead at an abandoned mental hospital tucked away in the mountains. The group decides to hole up in the hospital until the morning when they can resume their search for their friend’s cabin, and in the meantime they explore the “spooky” hospital, which looks like it has been abandoned for approximately ten days. There’s some dust and things are knocked over, but mostly the place seems intact. Maybe that’s because the mutant hillbilly cannibals who live there keep the place from getting too messy. Maybe not.
Anyway, the kids wander around and start getting picked off by the insane cannibals. Some of the practical effects look effectively nasty. All of the CG effects look embarrassingly awful. Before long only a handful of kids are left, with the male contingent getting mostly knocked out of action fairly early on. This is perhaps the most interesting thing about Wrong Turn 4: for the most part, it seems like the ladies are in charge. Once things start getting crazy, assertive Kenia (Jennifer Pudavick) takes the lead and starts putting together the plans to keep everyone alive, and badass Sara (Tenika Davis) is one of the first of the group to arm herself. On the other team, the mutant cannibals just giggle and shriek and eat people. They don’t have much personality to speak of, but the subtitles helpfully distinguish which of them is grunting or making other noises at any given time.
There’s nothing in Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings that you haven’t seen before, and seen done considerably better elsewhere. It’s nice to see ladies kicking some ass, but other than that this is a bland, standard-issue slasher with little to recommend it. If you want some sex, there’s some at the beginning of the film and a tiny bit later on. If you want cackling cannibals eating pieces of still-screaming victims, there’s plenty of that. But if you want anything other than cheap “thrills,” you will be sorely disappointed.
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings was released on 25 October 2011 by 20th Century Fox on Blu-ray and DVD. Special features include feature commentary with director Declan O’Brien, deleted scenes, three behind-the-scenes featurettes and a “Wrong Turn 4 Music Video Featuring The Blackout City Kids.”
Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He writes reviews for Film Monthly and “The Crown International Files” for Criticplanet.org as well as contributing to Fine Print Magazine (www.fineprintmag.net).
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