Director: Declan O Brien (2009)
Starring: Tamer Hassan, Tom Federic, Janet Montgomery
Who would've thought that 2003's Eliza Dushku/mutie inbreds vehicle Wrong Turn could inspire not one but two sequels? Sure, the first one was fun, tense and nasty, but did it really bring enough to the table to warrant sequelization? The second movie; Dead End - straight to DVD, no less - even turned out to be one of my favourite horror movies of the year, despite its budgetary shortcomings and thanks to lots of Henry Rollins. Could they make the hattrick? Alas, well, no. Familiarity breeds contempt - Wong Turn 3 is the weakest of the series so far.
This time around, there are less muties - it's more of an Alien concept, with the hunted under attack from just the one antagonist - and the prey, meanwhile, are a motley lot of escaped prisoners and their hostages. Like Wrong Turn 2, there's no wrong turn actually taken here. The characters all know (more or less) where they are; and it's not as if they accidentally stumbled into the area. Sure, they weren't counting on the cannibalistic likes of Three-Finger, but it's no wrong turn (stick with it, this is going somewhere).
No, the real Wrong Turn is in changing the emphasis from backwoods horror to cons-on-the-run (SEE I TOLD YOU IT WAS GOING SOMEWHERE, DIDN'T I TELL YOU, I TOLD YOU). There's less noticeable gore, no Henry Rollins and not as much of a fun splatterpunk feel to things. In fact, Wrong Turn 3 is downright boring at times. Boring, and shoddy. It's predecessor was noticeably cheap, but at least that had a sense of fun. With that missing, the movie's flaws become all the more evident.
[Thanks to Patrick at Stabbing Stabbing Stabbing who managed to tolerate my shitty sat-nav jokes and puns on the title for long enough to throw a 'cool post' award our way. He must have the wrong Review Hole, but we'll keep the award anyway]
The first thing that strikes is the terrible acting. It's acting so bad that it distracts from the nudity scene which kicks the film off. For shame. It's the weakest opening to a Wrong Turn so far; a real disappointment when compared to the Kimberly Caldwell murder which set its predecessor off to such a flying start. Perfunctory opening kill checked off, the action skips to a prison, where it emerges that some cons are planning a breakout. "That guy" actor Tamer Hassan plays gang boss Chavez. Get used to his face - he plays a bigger villainous part in this movie than the cannibals. This is fine at first, but his sub-Eastenders hardman schtick soon begins to grate.
Chavez and a bunch more cons are loaded onto a prison bus for delivery to another prison. Under the watchful eye of reluctant warden Nate (Federic), the bus crashes. The cons are freed. Prisoners and warden alike are hunted by Three-Finger and, briefly, his equally face-disabled son. And because why the hell not, things are further complicated when a van full of cash is found in the woods. What follows is too much bickering, massive machismo and the occasional gory kill (the best death scene involves a tow truck, an annoying character and some barbed wire).
Wrong Turn 3 is a serviceable bit of backwoods horror, dragged down by a lack of real action, irritating characters and not enough mutie-related violence. It's a disappointment, and one which will probably kill off the franchise. Should've got a sat-nav, guys.