Wrong Turn (2021) review – a franchise reborn with new levels of horror

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: February 15, 2021 (Last updated: December 15, 2023)
Wrong Turn (2021) review – a franchise reborn with new levels of horror


Wrong Turn is the rebirth of a franchise, back to the strength it once had, with an even more horrific vision than before.

This is a non-spoiler review of Wrong Turn (2021) releasing for Home Premiere on Digital Platforms on 26th February. Directed by Mike P Nelson, seeing the return of original writer and creator Alan B McElroy, the rebirth of the franchise will see Full Metal Jacket’s Matthew Modine, American Assassin’s Charlotte Vega, and TV’s Gifted’s Emma Dumont in the leading roles. The question going into this film is, can the franchise be reborn, or should it have stayed lost down the wrong turning?

Wrong Turn follows six young adults, Jen (Charlotte Vega), Darius (Adain Bradley), Milla (Emma Dumont), Adam (Dlyan McTee), Gary (Varsaan Arora), and Luis (Adrian Favela), who are on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail — a hike which they are warned by the locals should stick to the main trail. When the friends don’t remain on the trail, they find themselves coming up against a community of people living in the woods, causing the nightmares to begin as they use what they know to try and survive the ruthless leader John Venable (Bill Sage) and his Foundation of people.

Wrong Turn was a franchise that had six previous installments. Each went through the same storyline, a group of people getting picked off by cannibals. The idea had become stale and even after the sixth outing tried to turn things around, we needed a new start. Much like Child’s Play in 2019, we got the idea coming back, in this case getting lost in the wood, but going in a different direction, which is just as terrifying. When we look at the timeline in the film, we do see a weakness, because it starts with the father looking for information on the daughter, before we jump back to see what happened. We get reconnected with his side after filling in the gap and that will lead to plenty more action happening. The story could have also played upon the Foundation’s personality more, teasing they could well be good, honest people, instead of just going with the flat-out “they are evil” idea. This story is what the franchise needed; it is great to see the original writer returning to put it back on the right track.

Wrong Turn does have great performances throughout, with Charlotte Vega being the strong kick-ass leading lady, who could easily put herself forward for any horror or action role with this behind her. Bill Sage gives us a calm, disturbing performance that will linger with you for days; his cold but strong delivery makes us see just how in control he truly is. Matthew Modine brings the extra star power to the film and gives us the determination required to make this character standout.

Wrong Turn (2021) returns to the horror roots, slowly introducing those elements first through the woods, and then with stalking, as people creep in the shadows. The blood and gore stand out, never holding back. The Foundation does have one punishment called ‘The Dark’, which is disturbing enough, but when we get to see inside, we are left with an environment that is nothing short of horrific.

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