The Scoop: 2007 NR, directed by Joe Lynch and starring Erica Leerhsen, Henry Rollins, and Texas Battle
Tagline: In the Forest, Only They Can Hear You Scream.
Summary Capsule: A group of young people gathered in the West Virginia wilderness to participate in a post-apocalyptic ‘Survivor’ show find inbred cannibal mutants are already around pre-apocalypse
Kyle’s Rating: She’s got a way about her
Kyle’s Review: Even though I think Wrong Turn is actually a phenomenal little horror film, the number one draw in Wrong Turn 2: Dead End for me was the phenomenally beautiful Erica Leerhsen. She was a great screen presence in Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, successfully melding talent and innate hotness in a charismatic way. When it appeared that she would be the main heroine of WT2 (my meager research skills could never unearth the truth one way or the other ahead of time; I’ll explain why in a second) I was like “this is a really, really good idea!”
Surprisingly, it pretty much was a good idea. The ‘they’re still out there’ ending of the first film (spoiler!) was a proper threat of further sequels, as you can pretty much do anything with cannibal mutants in vast American wilderness, over and over again. Even if you apply ‘real world’ logic to this particular reality, and assume that the first film’s survivors would tell anyone and everyone where exactly the mutant freaks who killed their friends were so that they could be captured/napalmed, the thing about mutant freaks is that they can easily relocate and hide out so efficiently that Johnny Law will eventually cut their losses and call off the search (I read about mutant freaks in Newsweek magazine). So rather than think “oh, those mutants are done for” it’s a lot more like “cut off one mutant’s head, and three more inbred cannibal mutants will pop up in its place.” (I read that in Time)
The sequel’s premise was a significant curveball coming at me, and all of us, for that matter. Instead of anything growing out of the first film, WT2 gives us a cast of young people who are assembled in the wilderness of West Virginia (which is apparently mostly wild) to compete on a… REALITY SHOW! No, really. A reality show. The premise of which is that the apocalypse has come and gone, and now our intrepid contestants must wander through a wilderness full of task-assigning boobytraps and about 35 high-mounted cameras to capture everything for the home audience.
Honestly, when I first heard about the plot of the film (everything I said, but then it turns out the game’s playing field overlaps the hunting ground of those pesky inbred cannibal mutants), I was not entirely surprised or shocked, but I was uneasy that any kind of entertainment value could be pulled from such a whack premise. Having watched and enjoyed the film, now I can say that my only surprise is that all those tree-mounted cameras were used only fleetingly in the film (I really thought, and can easily imagine on my own, those cameras being used as a major tool to survive the cannibal onslaught). Oh, and a bit of surprise at one other minor little thing…
The cannibal mutant make-up absolutely sucked.
I am not entirely sure if the makeup is just totally low-rent and lame, or if the fact that the mutants run around in broad daylight and we see them perfectly is to blame: there is a reason most (“classic”) horror films that deal with heavy makeup effects keep said made-up effects cloaked in shadows and CGI-darkness and that reason is that sometimes disbelief flies out the window when we see the unnatural in natural light. Hard to say. What do real mutants look like? I’m not sure I want to know!
Oh, and I guess the fact that Henry Rollins plays such a pivotal role in the film is a big deal for a lot of people. I’m not the super Rollins fan that many are, so his participation did not mean quite as much to me as Leershen’s did. He was fantastic as the tough military dude who was only around to break into Hollywood and ended up having to break open some mutant skulls, so that’s a definite plus. Who says direct-to-DVD movies are no good? Shame on them!
Somehow, Lester’s plastic butter knife didn’t inspire the terror he wanted.
How do you tell a loved one that their zit’s gotten out of control?
“I’m king of the marsh! Whoo!”
- The original script involved the two surviving characters of the first movie returning. This idea was later scraped when they decided to make a DTV sequel entry.
- Henry Rollins was the first official cast member announced.
- Director Joe Lynch originally wanted to have more inbred characters in the film, but was unable to because there were already too many characters to service in the film.
- Shot in only 25 days.
- Erica Leerhsen did a lot of her own stunts in the movie.
- Paper companies apparently create quite a bit of greenish sludge as a byproduct of making paper. Who would have guessed?
- Even inbred mutant cannibals say their prayers before dinner, even if dinner is screaming so loud it’s hard to hear
Nina Papas: We shouldn’t be here.
Elena: Aww sh*t, okay what’s the next challenge?
M: Uhh, can we keep this between us? Mara’s sort of “the one”.
Elena: Whatever. I’m just going to stay here and tan.
Elena: Oh M! Tell Mara I said hi.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Wrong Turn
- Friday the 13th Part 2
- Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows