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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WRONG TURN 4 -- DVD review by porfle

Everybody likes a good origin story, and if you're a fan of Three Finger, Saw-Tooth, and One-Eye, then WRONG TURN 4 (2011)--subtitled "Bloody Beginnings"--could be the prequel of your dreams. 

The rousing pretitles sequence finds our three inbred hillbilly-cannibal brothers as rambuctious young 'uns who are already the most dangerous inmates in the asylum.  They don't stay locked in their cell for long, though, and once they've escaped and let all the other loonies out as well, the hapless asylum staff are in for a day of total bedlam climaxed by the drawing and quartering of poor Dr. Ryan. 

This jaw-dropping scene, as well as the rest of the film's gore, is done with state-of-the-art practical effects with a minimum of CGI, which should make old-school gorehounds giddy with delight.  With Dr. Ryan's screams still ringing in our ears, we then plunge directly into a sex scene involving two couples, one hetero, one lesbian.  Writer-director Declan O'Brien (WRONG TURN 3) clearly isn't wasting any time ringing the standard slasher-flick bells and whistles here, and once fully sated the two couples and their friends immediately set off for a snowmobiling weekend in the woods which we know isn't going to end well.

Taking a "wrong turn" on the way to their cabin, they end up having to seek shelter from the freezing cold in the old abandoned asylum, which naturally is the current home of our grown-up hillbilly cannibals.  Before you can say "no cell phone reception", they're in party-hearty mode amidst clouds of cannabis and pairing up for the night.  It doesn't take long for one of them to wander off on his own and come face-to-hideously-deformed-face with Saw-Tooth, whereupon we're treated to our first peek at what goes on in the asylum's kitchen these days. 

Once the entire gang of kill-fodder college chums is clued in that they're in big trouble, WRONG TURN 4 segues into the usual routine in which everybody runs around being terrified as they get picked off one by one.  This gives O'Brien and his crack effects team the chance to stage a series of bravura death scenes (one victim is hanged by barbed wire until her head pops off like a cork) culminating in what is known as the "F**ked-Up Fondue." 

Here, the extremely unfortunate victim is tied to a kitchen table and taken apart piece by piece as the hillbillies dip each morsel into sizzling oil before gobbling it up.  Actor Dean Armstrong displays an outstanding vocal range with some of the best screams ever recorded, and the SPFX artists are equally good as they pull of some queasily convincing effects that should please even the most demanding gorehounds.  Definitely one of the sickest sequences I've seen in a while, it's enough to have even Herschell Gordon Lewis wondering what the hell he hath wrought.

Meanwhile, the rest of our cast of idiots are voting whether or not to go help their friend even as his blood-curdling shrieks resound up and down the corridors.  These are not the brightest characters ever written, and if you're in the right mood you may enjoy watching them scurry around making one incredibly dumb move after another as director O'Brien manages to record their antics with some style.  Once they've exhausted their full range of indoor stupidity the action moves outside, with the survivors being harrassed by hillbilly cannibals on snowmobiles until the surprise (ehh) ending.

The good-guy cast do what they can with characters and dialogue that are--how should I put this--"lacking in depth", adequately depicting their assorted stereotypes.  Jennifer Pudavik is appealing as Kenia, who comes off as "final girl" material from the start, while Dean Armstrong gets my vote as "Scream King of the Month."  Extra points go to actor/stuntmen Sean Skene and Scott Johnson for their double acting duties--Skene plays both college boy Vincent and psycho Three Finger, and Johnson, in addition to being one of the orderlies eaten in the pretitles rampage, also assumes the role of the adult Saw-Tooth.

The DVD from 20th-Century Fox Home Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.  Extras include a director-producer commentary, a making-of featurette, "Director's Die-ary", "Lifestyles of the Sick and Infamous", deleted scenes, and a music video.

So far, my favorite film in this series is the second one with its wantonly over-the-top gore and sick humor.  But while WRONG TURN 4 doesn't quite match up, it's still packed with enough action and carnage to make it a worthwhile turn for gore addicts to take.

Buy the Blu-Ray/DVD combo at

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