Forthrightness is an admirable quality in a crappy movie. ”I need to remind you of a little movie called ‘Deliverance,”’ remarks one doomed (if self-aware) traveler in Wrong Turn, a blood-simple backwoods spatterfest that makes shameless use of the same old antirural moonshine Hollywood’s been bootlegging for decades. Like we need to be reminded: Between the cannibalistic ”mountain men” who stalk tasty-looking twentysomethings and the mono-toothed gas-pump cracker whose intentionally vague directions send unsuspecting NAW-thun-nuhs into peril, the only things missing are banjo riffs and anal rape. (There’s no real sex of any kind, actually, perhaps because the filmmakers — reflecting our new moral clarity — would rather see people dismembered than disrobed.)
Flying in the face of the title, the story contains no turns, wrong or otherwise. Blank hero Chris (Desmond Harrington) meets suitably spunky heroine Jessie (Eliza Dushku), and then everyone starts dying in a pretty predictable order — it’s not even much of a game to guess which of the dueling bimbos will bite the West Virginia dust first. The only cast member to distinguish himself is Julian Richings, an ogre who stands out among his inbred brethren by combining the ululations of Goofy with the prissy body language of Pee-wee Herman.