Reviewed By: Billy
Rarely has a movie in recent memory been met with such anticipation at Tower Farm as Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead. The Wrong Turn franchise, after all, is one of our favorites. Part one was a genuinely good movie; the gore effects were perfectly done, the script was strong and suspenseful, and it featured one of the best young casts in a horror movie ever. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, on the other hand, boasts one of the most insane scripts in horror history, assembles a bizarre cast including “American Idol” singer Kimberly Caldwell, Henry Rollins, and Erica Leerhson, and features mutants having sex and family dinners. Of course, we like this one much better.
Part three, then, has a lot to live up to. And director Declan O’Brien seems to sense this, and so he throws in gratuitous blood and nudity right off the bat. Well, Declan, we at Tower Farm see right through your little ruse of distracting us with giant boobs and eyeballs popping out. And sir…we thank you.
In this opening scene, four “college kids” (who appear to be pushing 30 at best) take a break from rafting down a river to -- what else? -- camp out and smoke out. As the scene progresses, something strange happens: their voices begin to change. At first I thought maybe this was just a problem with my TV…or maybe my ears…but then I suddenly realized it. These aren’t really American kids – they’re British! Yep – just about everyone in this movie is British. For some reason, filmmakers setting a movie in West Virginia decided to populate it with actors from across the pond. Thus, the strange outcome is that half of them try to hide their accents, and half of them don’t even bother. And for those who try to sound authentically American…well, let’s just say Meryl Streep has nothing to worry about. The topless girl in the opening, for example, goes from uttering “We’re in the middle of the woods…who’s gonna notice?” with the perfect California-sex voice of Paris Hilton to declaring “Alex thinks I’m a slut…do you think I’m a slut?” with all the Cockney ridiculousness of Eliza Doolittle. And this is within the span of 45 seconds! Thankfully, she only gets about five lines of dialogue before an arrow is shot through her boob, and then another one pierces her eyeball like a shish-kabob. So, we’re off to a very strong start.
The archer, of course, is Three Finger, who has only gotten more creative with his traps this time around. One of the…ahem…college kids, for example, ends up stepping into an intricate contraption that cuts him into three slices. Remember when Kim Caldwell was cut in half in part two? It’s like that…except done with a staggeringly sloppy CGI effect that makes it look like there’s a glitch in your DVD.
Next we end up at a nearby West Virginia prison. Here we meet all the tough inmates, covered in fake tattoos and spouting off absurdly racist dialogue like, “You fight one bean, you fight the whole burrito, huh?” And again, there’s a strangely high percentage of British inmates and officers. Chavez – a Hispanic prisoner planning a prison break – sounds kinda like Anthony Hopkins playing the villain in a Merchant-Ivory production. And then there’s the Nazi skinhead who completely bungles the line “Normally I’d slit your throat for less” into “No-mally, Oy’d slit ya throat fa less.” By the end of the scene, you’ll be howling with laughter and sure that you’ve just seen a British sketch comedy troupe doing a parody of “Oz.”
Our hero this time around is Tom Frederic as Nate, one of the prison guards who is given the task of transporting an amazingly annoying gang of prisoners through the woods in the middle of the night. At first, Frederic seems to just mumble his lines and appears totally confused by his character. Then – you guessed it! – I realized he’s yet another poor British guy just trying to hide his accent. This prison transfer, by the way, is enormously entertaining due to the fact that we get the 2009 version of the old rear-screen projection trick – a backwoods road computer-inserted behind the windshield. What makes this even better is that in the three separate shots of the windshield – the image NEVER changes! See for yourself – and marvel at the fact that this bus is apparently traveling at 0.2 miles per hour:
Anyway, before long the bus gets run off the road by Three Finger, and our vacationing Brits are on the run through the backwoods of West Virginia. What’s interesting here is that the prisoners end up with all the guns – but for some reason let the guards live and even force them to tag along. Umm, come on guys – you’ve just been handed the most convenient escape a prisoner could dream of! Not only can you shoot the guards and run – but the crazy mutant killer would probably end up being blamed for it! And then the surviving camper from the beginning, Alex, crosses paths with the group – and while the prisoners repeatedly discuss having sex with and killing the girl, they end up just letting her tag along, too. God…what kind of convicts are these?
Unfortunately, the next 50 minutes or so play out like one extended episode of “Prison Break” – with all kinds of internal strife coming up between the inmates, along with a useless subplot involving bags of money that they find along the way. When Three Finger and his random teen-aged son (where did this mutant kid come from, by the way?) finally do pop up again, the special effects drop to a level so cheap they’re the visual equivalent of a Big Lots. In one case, a guy’s face is literally Photoshopped off the screen:
So, look, I’m not gonna kid you. For me, Wrong Turn 2 is still the jewel in this franchise’s crown. The whole reality-show-gone-wrong premise provided the perfect framework for a direct-to-DVD cheap horror movie which almost seemed to revel in its cheapness. Maybe that’s the issue here – part three is nowhere near as competent as the first one, and not quite as incompetent and crazy as the second. It just kind of falls in the middle…which is OK, and appropriately worth: