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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD -- DVD review by porfle

White water rafting finally makes its first appearance in a WRONG TURN movie! One of the major reasons why city folk venture into crazy-hillbilly country (in the movies, anyway) is their insatiable urge, a la DELIVERANCE, to go white water rafting in the most remote locations possible. That way, they can be stalked and murdered by the invariably inbred and psychotic local yokels until the last of them finally decide to fight back. At least, that's how it usually goes.


In the case of WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD (2009), the key elements for this kind of film are taken care of within the first five minutes--stupid city youths in the middle of nowhere, the aforementioned white water rafting, dope smoking, a good girl with a nice boyfriend, a slutty girl who doffs her top to reveal some really big boobs, a lecherous boyfriend who avails himself of them right before they both die horribly, and, last but not least, three consecutive "WTF?" kills that should have gorehounds squirming with delight. Woo-hoo! This baby's off and running.


And then, with this mini-movie out of the way, WRONG TURN 3 becomes a different movie altogether. Now it's about a busload of hardened criminals being transferred from one West Virginia prison to another and taking a shortcut through crazy-hillbilly country to get there. The worst of them are Latino badass Chavez (Tamer Hassan), ill-tempered skinhead Floyd (Gil Kolirin), and deranged goofball Crawford (Jake Curran). One convict is a semi-good guy named Brandon (Tom McKay) and another is undercover officer Juarez (Christian Contreras). The guards consist of aspiring law student Nate Wilson (Tom Frederic), bus driver Walter (Chucky Venice), and another guy whose name doesn't matter because he's the first one to get killed.


With all these characters established, along comes our old friend Three Finger, the craziest inbred mutant hillbilly of them all, who runs the bus off the road with his wrecker truck and over an embankment in a spectacular crash that's like something out of THE FUGITIVE. And for the rest of the film, the now-armed convicts and their captive guards must trudge their way through the woods as Three Finger picks them off one by one in creatively horrible ways.


Not quite as serious as the first film in the series, yet much less awesomely over-the-top insane than the second one, WRONG TURN 3 focuses a lot on the interplay between the convicts and the guards and what happens after they stumble upon a wrecked armored truck full of cash. A whole non-horror action-suspense thriller could have been made using just this part of the story, and for long stretches of screen time, that's exactly what we get. Chavez bullies and threatens everybody, Floyd tries to out-alpha male Chavez, and guard Nate is kept alive only because he's a native of the area and knows the way out. With all of this going on, we sometimes forget that old Three Finger is even out there somewhere.


Still, there are some occasionally exciting kill scenes. Three Finger baits one of the convicts into a nifty full-body barbed-wire snare with his truck's winch and takes the unfortunate fellow on a high-speed drag down a paved road. Another convict has his skull opened like a pop-top and his brain feasted upon like a Jello mold. There's the old "drop the spear out of a tree while a guy is looking up at it" impalement gag, not to mention those old stand-bys such as knives, hatchets, arrows, and a nasty meat hook.


Before it's over, we end up in Three Finger's ghastly lair of death where he's holding the last survivor of that opening sequence, good girl Alex (Janet Montgomery), while Nate rushes to her rescue. This leads to a prolonged hand-to-hand combat scene (one of several in the film), not to mention another exciting vehicle-crash stunt, and finally one of those "he's dead...he's not dead" endings which leads to yet another twist ending.



One thing about it, this is a suspenseful, action-filled movie that doesn't get boring. Compared to the breathtakingly splatterific extravanganza that came before it, however, it seems a tad mundane. I could've sacrificed the more involved prison-bus storyline if only the creativity and unpredictability of the opening sequence could've been maintained. Maybe this series works better with simpler young-people-in-peril plotlines serving as a basis for more interesting variations on the mutant hillbillies and their outlandish activities.


The largely English cast is uniformly fine and the director, Declan O'Brien, knows how to make this stuff look really good. (His only other credit that I know him from, strangely enough, is as a producer and writer for the light family film ALICE UPSIDE DOWN.) This time around, the cool makeup and practical effects are augmented by some obvious CGI, which in some cases is a bit of a letdown. As evidenced by the first two films of the series, this kind of graphic gore often looks better when it's done for real, with a minimum of digital trickery.


The DVD from 20th-Century Fox looks and sounds good, with 1.85:1 widescreen, 5.1 English Dolby, and Spanish, French, and Portugese Dolby Surround. (Subtitles are available in all four languages.) Extras consist of two brief deleted scenes and an 18-minute featurette, "Wrong Turn 3 In Three Fingers...I Mean, Parts." The three chapters are titled "Action, Gore, and Chaos!", "Brothers in Blood", and "Three Finger's Fight Night."


I would definitely recommend this to fans of the series--it's a solid horror flick and a fun, exciting continuation of the Three Finger saga. But this time, the wonderfully go-for-broke wildness of the second film has been reined in and WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD only sporadically gets as mind-boggling as we expect it to.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Alex death or survival???

porfle said...

Yes.