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Detour Around This One
A review of Wrong Turn
by Robert A. Fulkerson

I have to admit, I went to see this movie because Eliza Dushku was in it. I've loved her work as the rogue vampire slayer Faith on the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". She was good job in "City by the Sea". She was funny in "Bring It On" and even moderately entertaining in "The New Guy". Plus, she's hot. I should have learned my lesson when I was going to movies just because Andie MacDowell was in them: sometimes they're just not good movies.

Director: Rob Schmidt

Stars: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto

Rating: R

Release: 05-30-2003

Time: 95 minutes

Buy Movie at Amazon.com In order to spare you the pain of actually going to this movie and spending your hard-earned money on it (thereby encouraging more movies like this one to be made), allow me to summarize the plot for you.

Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) takes a wrong turn on a detour to try and make a job interview, apparently for something in the medical field. We know this because he identifies a dead mink on the side of the road later in the movie, telling his companions that they had to dissect them in medical school, and ties a tourniquet around his bleeding leg.

As he's driving through the detour, he slams into a jeep and five people emerge out of the nearby woods. Their jeep had been stopped by some razor wire suspiciously left in the road. Three of the five, including Dushku's Jessie Burlingame, wander off with Finn to find help. The two that remain behind have sex in the wilderness and are killed in typical teenagers-having-sex-in-a-horror-flick fashion.

The quartet that goes for help, including Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and the entertaining Scott (Jeremy Sisto), find a scary-looking cabin, look for a phone inside, and witness the dissection of one of their once-was-having-teenage-wilderness-sex-but-now-dead friends by the misshapen and apparently inbred West Virginia hillbillies who call the cabin home. The foursome escapes the cabin and finds a car/human graveyard in a grove of trees near the cabin. As the hillbillies are towing Scott and Carly's jeep to the auto graveyard, the group makes a run for it to escape. In a nod to "The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring," Scott dies in true Boromir fashion with three or four arrow bolts skewering him.

From here, the plot really gets ridiculous as the remaining three find themselves at the top of an incredibly tall ranger tower where they attempt to radio for help. They're discovered by the hillbillies. Apparently they have heightened inbred senses of smell and somehow found the teens even after the trio drove off in a truck at high speeds and the hillbillies hoofed it through the dense forest. We then see the threesome jumping and running through the trees like tree monkeys high above the forest floor. This is after the hillbillies set the ranger tower on fire to smoke their prey out for some good old-fashioned hillbilly killin'. At some unmemorable point, Carly bites it.

Eventually, the hillbillies kidnap Jessie (why they don't kill her immediately like they've eviscerated everyone else, we'll never know) and then, as you can probably deduce, Chris saves the day and one of the hillbillies lives on so that "Wrong Turn 2" can unfortunately be made.

I know I've given away the entire plot, but I feel it's my civic duty to make sure that people avoid this movie. Some people are championing it as "the return to what horror movies should be". If that means that horror movies should be horrible train wrecks of acting and plot development with a total disregard for setting a believable mood and trying to be fresh and different than all of the other movies in the teen horror genre, then they've hit their mark perfectly.

It's sad when the longest uninterrupted dialogue exchange lasts about 45 seconds. As Jessie and Finn are hiding behind a waterfall in broad daylight to avoid the hillbillies, she tells him about why she and her friends went into the woods in the first place. Her boyfriend just broke up with her, and her friends decided to take her on an expedition to the great outdoors to cheer her up because she's an outdoors girl.

That's it. That's the longest, most meaningful dialogue in the movie. The only witty banter is delivered by Scott, but he's unfortunately killed off too soon.

I didn't enjoy much about "Wrong Turn", but the moral I took away from it is this. Don't let your friends console you when you break up with someone because they may just take you to the woods and you'll end up in a bad movie being stalked and hunted by inbred West Virginia hillbillies. Also, someone in West Virginia should sue the filmmakers for the horrible portrayal their residents are given onscreen in this movie.