I know what you’re thinking: just how many unanswered questions could there possibly have been from the first Wrong Turn? I know, I know. Wrong Turn 2 continues the movie franchise which is the latest incarnation of the slasher film sub-genre of horror movie. Franchises like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and, more importantly, their derivative knock offs are the kinds of empty story-telling people think of when they think of horror. They are relatively inexpensive to make, thus easy to make their money back, and there is an audience who gets off on such cheap thrills.

The premise, such as it is, approaches something clever: a group of reality game show contestants compete in the woods to see who will be the “survivor” of an imagined apocalypse. Then they are hunted one by one by a family of inbred hillbilly cannibals. So, obviously this is a Merchant Ivory production released just in time for Oscar consideration.

“It’s funny, cause you never know when your life’s gonna change.” –Jake (Texas Battle)

The movie works by the kind of rules deconstructed in the Scream movie franchise (You may not survive the movie if you have sex. You may not survive the movie if you drink or do drugs. You may not survive the movie if you say “I’ll be right back.” You may not survive the movie if you ask “Who’s there?” You shouldn’t go out to investigate a strange noise if you wish to survive.). We’re given clichés as characters: the soldier babe (lesbian, of course), the male chauvinist jerk, the athlete, the Hollywood diva, the Girl Next Door.

Thus half the time the movie comes across like some sort of crazed Old Testament-styled punisher of sins—sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, unfaithfulness, making gods of themselves—with the cannibal family being instruments of God’s wrath. (The movie even carries its own social message: take care of our environment because poisoning it has its consequences. Granted, among such unintended consequences could be more of these movies, so for the love of God, PLEASE RECYCLE!!!)

“I’m thrilled that I actually get to live another day.” –Mara (Aleksa Palladino)

At its core, horror is about fear, an attempt to get a cathartic release from dealing with what scares us – be it the unknown or ultimately, our fear of death. Life is unpredictable, out of our control, and death possibly lurks around every corner, bush, or wrong turn. While the premise of the game (the game being a metaphor for life—if we want to speak of this movie in terms of ideas like “metaphor”) is about survival of the fittest, the lesson driven home is that no one can go through life on their own. Surviving on your own, in isolation, eventually leads to one’s deformity, as illustrated by the hillbilly cannibals. Yes, I’ve just used the phrase “hillbilly cannibals” as a metaphor of the destruction brought about by believing the lie of hyper-individualism. My job here is done.
Alright, you know what you are getting into when you decide to go see a Wrong Turn 2. It’s slasher flick by numbers. No surprises, not even in the creativity of the impalements that passes for its plot. You get what you rented it for: forgettable thrills.

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