Oddly enough, it’s not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (The original, good one you heathens, not the Jessica Biel remake.) This series certainly owes a debt of gratitude to Tobe Hooper, as they are relying heavily on his groundwork for their plot. (At least in the first movie, which is the one which attempts to keep the tone serious and tries it’s damnedest to inspire dread and suspense.) As I have mentioned on the show, I think you could prolly section off a portion of horror films and label them “Inbred Mutant Killer Horror” as a sub-genre. This is not a particularly prolific sub-genre, but has the notable entries of the aforementioned Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the Wes Craven helmed The Hills Have Eyes. (It should be noted that the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, in contrast to the TCM remake, is phenomenal and I consider it an improvement on the original.) I’ll run down the three movies I watched in quick succession.
Wrong Turn – The Plot: Through a series of unlikely events a bunch of poorly-equipped, overly-attractive twenty-somethings (Of which Eliza Dushku is the only recognizable name or face.) are stranded in the middle of nowhere and must strike out into the wilderness to try to find help. The couple who remain with the broken down vehicles are the first to go, while the expedition soon stumbles on the cabin of the inbred mutant cannibal freaks, take cover upon their return, and are discovered in their attempt to sneak away. The remainder of the movie features the kids attempting to not get eaten by hillbillies. Hilarity ensues.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End – The Plot: A small crew is filming a reality show, Apocalypse: Ultimate Survivalist, in a remote backwoods location. On hand are the appropriate number of poorly-equipped, overly-attractive twenty-somethings and Henry Rollins. Rollins plays the on-camera host of the show, as his status as a retired military commander is meant to lend weight to the series. As the kids tramp around the forest, they begin to realize that the reality show is anything but realistic, and they seem to be disappearing. The remainder of the movie features the kids attempting to not get eaten by hillbillies. Hilarity and Henry Rollins kicking ass ensue.
Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead – The Plot: The obligatory poorly-equipped, overly-attractive twenty-somethings are on a rafting trip. All but one of them die. Then, a prison is shown, prepping inmates for transfer from one facility to another. The bus is attacked by a familiar hillbilly-driven truck and runs off the road. Through a series of unlikely events, the surviving guards, inmates, and twenty-something find each other, stumble upon an armored car full of money and proceed to try to not get eaten by hillbillies. Hilarity most definitely does not ensue.
So, to give you the gist of each movie, as they all summarize similarly, the first one is the straight up, survive the horror, slasher movie. It takes itself seriously, and attempts to be genuinely scary. To it’s credit, there are a few taut moments, though the characters never really became likeable enough for me to give a shit about them.
The second movie is for all you Sam Raimi fans out there. It seems to be self aware without being self referential. It was definitely the most fun movie for me to watch. It seemed to take as a given that the movie couldn’t successfully pull off the same basic plot of the first with new victims, and the reality shoe angle, shile hardly novel, was entertaining. There are some fun kills in this one as well. Lastly, as a big Henry Rollins fan, I cheered when he showed up, as I hadn’t known he was in the movie beforehand.
The third movie was obviously an attempt to wring a little more money out of a franchise based on the name alone. The story is convoluted and ridiculous, even for a horror movie. No one can act worth a shit, and the kills are not even interesting. Pass.
All this to say, I’d still recommend the first two as a good time. Though you could just watch the second if you wanna just watch the best one, they don’t require knowledge of the others to watch them.
As a head’s up, allegedly, the guy who did the dreadful third installment has been tapped to do a fourth movie. There is no god.
Check out the trailers here:
And, unfortunately, here: