Combustible Celluloid
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With: Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Matthew Modine, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Daisy Head, Vardaan Arora, Adrian Favela, Tim de Zarn
Written by: Alan B. McElroy
Directed by: Mike P. Nelson
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, grisly images and pervasive language
Running Time: 109
Date: 01/26/2021

Wrong Turn (2021)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Trail Bait

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A remake of the 2003 horror/slasher movie (and the seventh entry in the franchise), Wrong Turn is filled with annoying characters and dumb situations, and cannot make a reasonable case for its own existence.

Scott (Matthew Modine) hasn't heard from his daughter Jen (Charlotte Vega) in several weeks, so he goes looking for her. Weeks earlier, she, her boyfriend Darius (Adain Bradley), and four other friends decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. Darius, a history buff, talks the others into leaving the marked trail to find the secrets of the woods, even though they were warned not to.

Before long, strange things begin to happen. One of their number dies, crushed by a runaway rolling log. Others begin disappearing, or falling into well-hidden traps. Then, they encounter mysterious people wearing animal skulls. What will Scott discover when he finally finds his daughter?

Wrong Turn is one of those movies wherein the characters spend a great deal of time shouting each other's names ("Jen!" "Darius!" "Milla!" "Adam!" "Gary!" "Luis!"), rather than developing any personalities. What little character development does come out is ridiculous. The movie tries to earn points with its diverse group (two women, one Black man, one Latinx man, and one Indian man, the latter two a LGBTQ+ couple), but their shallowness undercuts that attempt.

Darius believes in a cult-like collective where "everyone works and everyone shares" (and, coincidentally, he finds it!). Jen somehow believes that there's right and there's wrong, and shades of gray don't exist. And Adam (the one white male in the group) is a serious jerk; he does the most shouting.

Then there are questions like: who carried the tent that was big enough to fit five people in those tiny backpacks? Why do all the characters' facial cuts and scrapes look pretty much the same? At least the villains in Wrong Turn — led by the charismatic Venable (Bill Sage) — are more interesting than the heroes.

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