Wrong Turn (2003)

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Released 2-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Rob Schmidt (Dir), Eliza Dushku &Desmond Harrington (Actors)
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Stan Winston 'Monster Mogul'
Featurette-Eliza Dushku 'Babe In The Woods'
Featurette-'Fresh Meat' - The Wounds Of Wrong Turn
Additional Footage-Extended 'Waterfall' Sequence
Outtakes-'Francine Gets Killed' Sequence
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 80:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rob Schmidt
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Desmond Harrington
Eliza Dushku
Jeremy Sisto
Emmanuelle Chriqui
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Elia Cmiral


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, drug smoking to boot.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a coda to the film takes place halfway through.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The resurgence in the horror film over the last few years has been nothing short of spectacular. It has gone from the point of being virtually unbackable, where no studio would dare put money behind one, to where every studio on the planet wants to have the latest shock-fest in their stable. This has produced a few excellent films (The Others, Dog Soldiers, and 28 Days Later among others), at least as many truly terrible films (Final Destination 2, They, Long Time Dead), and, in the largest numbers, the enjoyably bad films (Resident Evil, Ghost Ship, Eight Legged Freaks). Wrong Turn belongs somewhere on the lower end of the latter category - it is definitely a bad film, but there is enough here to enjoy that fanboys and lovers of bad films will still get something out of it.

    Wrong Turn, as with many of the new wave of horror, has shunned the Scream mould (a good thing, as that has now been done to death - pardon the pun), done away with most of the pop-culture references (although the film-makers couldn't resist bringing up Deliverance), and attempted to make a "traditional 70's style horror." The "hero" of the piece is Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington - an actor who is difficult to accept in this role if you have previously seen Ghost Ship), who we meet as he is running late driving through West Virginia back-country trying to make an evening job interview. Unfortunately, the highway is blocked by an accident, so Chris heads back and looks for a way around. On a map at an old service station he sees a road that should take him through to the highway about 15 miles up - and he decides to take it. On the way he takes a (wait for it)...wrong turn! Very quickly he runs into a group of late teens (or early twenty-somethings) by the side of the road whose car has more than one flat tyre. Having established that there is no phone at the service station on the way in, they leave two people with the car, while Chris and the rest of the road-side group, Jessie (Eliza Dushku), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Scott (Jeremy Sisto) head off in an attempt to find help. From there it all goes down hill - very quickly they are all running for their lives from hideously disfigured, inbred, back-country cannibals.

    Rather than being a true horror film, Wrong Turn is more a horror-influenced action film, and this is what saves it. When it tries for a creepy effect, it largely falls flat, but it is the numerous action set-pieces that are what make this film good fun. Fleeing on foot from an inbred cannibal armed with a bow-and-arrow - it doesn't get much goofier, nor more enjoyable, than that. The actors are also suited to their task, putting in good physical performances, with Emmanuelle Chriqui in particular imbuing her "annoying girl" character with enough heart that we care for her despite her ability to ruin things, and Jeremy Sisto playing the likeable monster bait. Eliza Dushku plays her Faith character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer by another name (she must be getting tired of the "tough chick" roles by now), while Desmond Harrington seems to sleepwalk though his performance (that could have had something to do with breaking an ankle early in production), but it is sufficient.

    The down-side of trying to do a "70's style horror" is that there is absolutely nothing new here. Remote locations, kooky country cannibals, and virtually unkillable enemies have all been done before, and in many cases, better. That leaves Wrong Turn without anything to truly distinguish itself, and that is its largest weakness - if you are going to do something that has been done many times before, at least make sure you do it well. The other major problem with this film is that it is not all that scary. The action is fun to get into, but there are almost no real frights at all, and the atmosphere is severely lacking. Wrong Turn will probably only be of interest to fans of the actors involved, or those who enjoy films that are dopey but fun. Most will want to check this out as a rental first.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is nothing short of amazing - it is one small problem away from being perfect.

    Presented in the slightly altered aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (the original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1), this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is very good, displaying enough fine detail. The image could be said to be slightly soft overall, but that would be splitting hairs, and the end result is a nicely smooth appearance that enhances the experience more than hindering it. There is almost no grain at all, with even shots of open sky only showing barley noticeable low-level grain. Shadow detail is superb, with all darker scenes being easily penetrable and presenting plenty of depth. There is no low-level noise present.

    Colours are rich and vibrant. The greens of the West Virginia forest are a pleasure to behold, while the highlights of the characters' wardrobe stand out with authority. The all important colour of blood is deep, rich and red, and serves to add to the production.

    The most impressive aspect of this transfer is that there are virtually no artefacts to be found. No film artefacts flecking the frame, no aliasing, and no pixelisation. The only area in which this transfer could be called slightly sub-standard is that in places it does seem to be the tiniest bit over-compressed. This can be seen in any fast-moving shot of the forest, where the foreground seems to slide by just a little bit more slowly than the background, leaving barely perceptible motion trails. This could be more due to the fact that I was looking very hard to try to find something wrong with the image, and it certainly is not a highly noticeable problem, but there does seem to be something there.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 63:30. As it is, it is not too bad although noticeable due to the drop in audio, but it could have been placed only a few minutes earlier where no-one would have seen it, so it is in a small way disappointing.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer presented for Wrong Turn is almost on a par with the video. It provides an excellent listening experience that will bring your surround sound system to life.

    There are three audio tracks on this disc, the first two being the original English dialogue presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 224Kbps). The third is the English director's commentary track, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 192 Kbps). The stereo audio track is not flagged as surround encoded, but will provide plenty for those who have Prologic capable equipment if they manually enable surround decoding.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. It is never affected by action or other audio effects. There are a couple of occasions where the dialogue recording takes on a "hollow" feel (such as in the cabin at 26:07), but even then the clarity of the dialogue is not affected. Audio sync is spot on throughout the transfer and never causes a problem.

    The music is a combination of score work from Elia Cmiral and contemporary choices that come into play largely as "practical" sounds (car radio, etc). The score is a very typical horror score, complete with the "tension" music that starts to play before most of the major fright moments, and for the most part does little to inspire. It does not really hinder the film, but it could have done a whole lot more.

    The surround channels are heavily used throughout the film, delivering both ambient effects (rustling trees in the forest and so forth), as well as very specific directional effects. This is one of the most effective surround sound tracks available. Unfortunately, those listening to the 2.0 soundtrack, even with surround enabled, will not find the same level of clarity and precise sound placement. There are still plenty of straight panning effects from left to right for those restricted to stereo or Prologic systems, but the real quality of this soundtrack only comes out in the 5.1 mix.

    The subwoofer is often and aggressively used. From the engine rumbles, to explosions, to the score, it is rarely dormant, and often threatens to knock a few walls down.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Unfortunately the extras presented here are more a case of quantity over quality, and only pseudo quantity at that (breaking up one twenty-odd minute making-of into four featurettes doesn't really make more extras).

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, animated, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Rob Schmidt (Director), Eliza Dushku, and Desmond Harrington (Actors)

    This is not a particularly good commentary. Director Rob Schmidt has a few interesting pieces of information to pass on, but Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington seem to be more interested in disrupting him than anything else. It also gets uncomfortably "backslappy" at times, with prolonged speeches as to how great they all are. Really only worth a listen for the terminally bored.

Trailer (2:11)

    Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer actually gives quite a good impression as to what this film will deliver. It clearly emphasises the action, and only lightly brushes the chills - which is pretty much where this movie lies.

Featurette - The Making of Wrong Turn (4:03)

    This rather short featurette is part of a longer one that has been cut into four bits - presumably so they have more to list on the back cover blurb. Unfortunately there is no "play-all" option. This one features some behind-the-scenes images, but it is really only an introduction to the other three. Worth a watch, and more interesting than ten-times its running length in the commentary. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Stan Winston - Monster Mogul (4:40)

    A short featurette singing the praises of Stan Winston and his career. For once, the backslapping is deserved, as his career highlights read as a virtual who's who of famous Hollywood monsters and robots. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Eliza Dushku - Babe in the Woods (3:45)

    A short piece on why the filmmakers targeted Eliza Dushku for the role of Jessie, and the lengths that they had to go to in order to get her on the project. It is an interesting exercise in naming her role of Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer without actually saying it out plain. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Fresh Meat - The Wounds of Wrong Turn (9:25)

    By far the longest of the four featurettes, this goes into a little bit of detail about the three cannibals, and the prosthetic make-up created for them. It is also the most interesting of the featurettes. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Extended Waterfall Sequence (3:03)

    The full version of the scene behind the waterfall. It includes Jessie being more emotionally vulnerable than she is in the finished version, and makes it plain that the she and Chris become romantically involved. Presented at 1.85:1 (although with plenty of counters and the like in the surrounding areas), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Out Takes - Francine Gets Killed Sequence (3:47)

    Whoops - just gave away what happens to Francine (and if you couldn't tell from the second she opened her mouth, then you've never seen a bad horror movie before). Anyway, normally an "out takes" real would be bloopers and gags and the like - well this isn't. This is probably much close to what "out takes" actually means than a gag-real - it is simply a collection of different takes from the scene where Francine is killed. Not really all that interesting. Presented at 1.85:1 (again with plenty of counters), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:     From all reports the "deleted scene" is nothing more than a (very) slightly extended version of the Francine kill as it exists in the final film. The only really compelling reason to get the Region 1 would be if you need subtitles. Apart from that - there is no reason to prefer one version over the other, so grab it where it's cheapest.

Summary

    A rather dopey horror film (inbred mountain-man cannibals...um, yes, that's the type of person you meet on an ordinary hike), but one that adds some physicality to the mix, and carries its intension to be a "70's style horror" film on its sleeve. Good fun for those who like this kind of thing (you know who you are), but most will want to try before they buy. It would make a good rental for a "popcorn horror" night, where cheering for the good guys is more important than really being scared.

    The video quality is so close to perfect as to be able to reach out and touch it. There are only a few times where it does seem a little over-compressed, but aside from those, there is nothing wrong with it at all.

    The audio quality is likewise excellent, providing an extensive work-out for any surround sound system.

    The extras are the only truly disappointing aspect of this disc, as most are not particularly interesting, and little insight is provided into the production. Even the commentary is largely a bust.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Friday, October 31, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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R4 vs. R1 video quality - REPLY POSTED