[Review] Wrong Turn (2021) – A Smart, Innovative Rethinking of the Franchise

The dreaded remake.

Mention the “R” word to any horror fan and instinctively they make that face – you know the face I’m talking about. Ya – that one.

It seems that at least a few times a year news breaks that a fan favorite from the past is going to get a “re-imagining” and the fan base collectively shudders. But sometimes, given the right mixture of passion, talent, and vision – the remake works – and that brings us to this review of Wrong Turn.

The original franchise managed to chalk up six – let’s say that again – six installments going all the way back to 2003, the original being a vehicle for Eliza Dushku and bringing the always lovable “inbred cannibal redneck” front and center to the genre – and they managed to milk that films success for five more chapters.

So – needless to say – I went into this new 2021 version a bit jaded and was not expecting much – well, color me stupid cause this film freaking rocks!

There are a few similarities between this new version and the now 18-year-old original take – a group of good looking youngsters is heading to the woods to mess around – they stop in a backwoods town where they are warned to not mess with nature – they run into some forest dwellers who proceed to F them up. But – 2021’s Wrong Turn offers up more than meets the eye.

My first surprise came when I realized that Matthew Modine is in this – not sure why that surprised me as much as it did – but, he’s freaking great in this – he plays the dad of our final girl – Jennifer – wonderfully played by Charlotte Vega. It is the strength of these two performances that carry this film above and beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Without getting into spoiler territory – our group of young adventure-seekers finds themselves in over their heads quickly as they wander off the beaten path and come face to face with some mountain folk hell-bent on making sure anyone who ventures into their world stays in their world. We get an amazing array of booby traps, torture, and mayhem but more important than that – we get a smart, innovative story.

A few of the twists and turns telegraph but – more than enough of them hit the mark – all the way up through the end credits of the film.

Director Mike P. Nelson and screenwriter Alan B. McElroy have crafted an interesting, intense, and original story idea that delivers on pretty much all counts making Wrong Turn the right turn if you’re looking for some entertaining survival horror.

Like I mentioned – watch it all the way to the end – the fun doesn’t end till the credits quit rolling.

Wrong Turn is out now from Saban Films.

Dave Dreher
Co-Founder / Lead News Reporter at Gruesome Magazine
Dave is co-founder and lead news reporter for Gruesome. Dave has built his resume working for Diabolique Magazine, The Horror Channel, Horrornews.net, House of Horrors and Creature Corner. He has worked with Tom Savini on his official site since 1997 and is also co-host of the popular podcast Horror News Radio.