Tuesday, 7 October 2008

No.79 : Wrong Turn 2 : Dead End

Wrong Turn 2 : Dead End at the IMDb

Following our ‘W’ challenge tradition of reviewing the sequels rather than the originals let’s have a look at ‘Wrong Turn 2 : Dead End’. I have seen the original but remember little or nothing about it. Reading the notes I see that none of the original cast reprise their roles, so it looks like the franchise is relying on return custom from fans of hillbilly mutants. The ‘Wrong Turn’ title has no relevance at all to this film and they must be hoping that the kudos of the classy original rubs off on this straight to video sequel.

The film open with a young starlet on the way to the set of a new reality show being shot in rural Virginia. We know she’s a total bitch from the off as she’s blonde and talking trash on her mobile to her agent about being cast in such a crummy film. Sorry TV show. When she runs over a jay walking mutant she foolishly goes back to check, only to get a full on smacker for her trouble. She’s quickly reduced to half the woman she used to be in a cracking kill that sets the tone for the rest of the film.

The rest of the cast has assembled on set and the producer’s girlfriend gamely steps into to replace the missing starlet, whose absence causes surprisingly little concern. We meet the usual cast of misfits such as a lesbian ex-soldier and an injured football star who are vying for the $100K first prize. Hosting the show is Henry Rollins, who does well as a grizzled ex-marine. The overly complex rules of the show are explained to the cast, and us, and they are then sent off to complete some challenges. Unfortunately for them the quest for survival becomes real as a hungry tribe of hill billy cannibal mutants have just placed them on the menu.

As you’d expect the cast are quickly whittled down with some elaborate kills for both sides. The film is played straight but the violence is so over the top that you can’t help but laugh. There is a funny scene early on where the team joker finds a large piece of meat grilling on a spit and tucks in. ‘Oh no’ we think especially as an previously shown tattoo shows up on someone’s plate!

Pretty soon we are down to only two contestants and a few mutants with the end game to be played out in an abandoned paper mill. Our heroes will have to rely on their wits to save their day. Well their wits and a curiously operational bark stripping machine!

Despite my better judgement I rather enjoyed this film. It’s clearly throwaway piece of forgettable nonsense but it was entertaining and pretty gruesome too. At least three of the kills were real ‘Ooowww’ moments and the mutants were good value with their archery and cooking talents. The non-mutant cast were totally anonymous apart from Rollins, but they did their bit getting killed to order and disrobing when appropriate.

On the downside there is precious little in the way of characterisation with obvious markers laid down and later cashed in - ooh I’ve got a bad shoulder, I’ve got a tattoo - are you paying attention viewers?! The plot is also non existent with the game show just a device for dropping the group into the woods and into peril. The progression is as you’d expect with no real twists in the path, but a few blood soaked and sexy asides kept the interest level high.

The mutant bad guys, who only spoke in grunts, were portrayed somewhat unsympathetically although they were excused somewhat by the revelation of toxic dumping by the paper company. I don’t know what kind of paper produces the skull and crossbones type waste that was piled up, but it was so bad that it’s still being pumped out even after the factory has been closed 20 years! This of course laid the ground work for future instalments. I can totally wait!

Best Bit : “My Mom says I’ll live foreve….!”

‘W’ Rating : 13/23

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