Hipsters embroiled in hiking horror for not heeding warning
By Margaret Wieringa
Wrong Turn, directed by Mike P. Nelson, follows the adventures of a group of city-dwelling hipsters, heading out to hike the Appalachian Trail. As they embark on their adventure they are warned by the unfriendly small-townsfolk to stick to the marked path. Yet seemingly immediately, they deviate to visit a Civil War site and the horrors start. When you leave the road, you end up in the territory of The Foundation, a strange community who live far removed from modern society. And when you meet The Foundation, you don’t leave; alive or dead.
The Foundation members dress in camouflage – not the army pattern type, but covered head to toe in greenery topped with animal skulls. This is their home, and the audience is challenged about whether the barbaric snares and traps set up to protect their land from strangers are justified. Certainly, the interloping hikers are set up to be annoying and privileged, the opposite of the earthy, hard-living Foundation folks. It’s hard to be sympathetic to the plight of rich kids searching for an “authentic” experience, though it’s also hard to fall on the side of a group who have unwritten, unspoken rules and barriers and an inflexible method for justice. I struggled to side with either, which made me, at times, less invested in the outcome than perhaps I should have been.
I’m not a great horror film watcher; I’m really far too much of scaredy-cat. Right from the start, the soundtrack had an intermittent, disturbing drone which had me on edge. As the sequences became choppier, the discordant music and speedy camera movements nearly did me in. Add to that the intense, wide-eyed fearful stares of Charlotte Vega and Adain Bradley (playing Jen’s boyfriend, Darius), and the sudden, sharp and extremely graphic action sequences, and I was left with a horror film which I actually thoroughly enjoyed.
My recommendation is that you don’t watch Wrong Turn immediately before going camping. That was probably not my smartest decision. I can only hope I make it through without discovering a strange, cult-like group of folks living on the outskirts of Melbourne, though the film has given me some handy hints on how I might survive.
Wrong Turn is currently screening in cinemas across Australia.