Wrong Turn

Autumn has fallen and it’s time once more to celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear. Rainestorm finishes its horror trilogy and goes to the well one last time to highlight 31 days of spooky scares that season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween.

Hex cast: 2003

'Wrong Turn'

The lesson here is… sunscreen.

The charm: When Deliverance meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the result is an unsettling thriller that’s better than it has any right to be. Director Rob Schmidt surprisingly shuns cheap sight gags in favor of mounting tension. It may not be completely unsurprising but neither does it take your viewership for granted. Some clever and interesting sequences are constructed, particularly a mid-film chase from an abandoned watchtower to a neighboring tree. The characters don’t make blatantly idiotic decisions so you’re not forced to hate them, and the actors wisely play their parts straight, which is a nice change from usual wink-and-a-nudge indulgences of most B horror films. Eliza Dushku’s performance capably holds the film together, and you can never have too much Jeremy Sisto.

Focal point: Four terrified survivors attempt to sneak past the bodies of three dozing cannibals enjoying their post-repast nap.

Entrancing trivia: During one of the last scenes in the movie, Eliza Dushku actually set actor Julian Richings (Three Finger) on fire.

Speak the words: “The next time she gets dumped, we’ll take her to New York.”

Companion spell: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Tobe Hooper’s deranged classic swaps out the West Virginia forest for the Texas countryside. You’ll never look at a meat hook the same way again.

Cursed by: The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Wes Craven’s original mutant horror show, which I admit I have never seen. Some look at Wrong Turn as a cheap knock-off, and does West Virginia really need another movie that paints them as toothless, deformed, backwater hillbillies?

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