My main problem with Hatchet (of many) was while the tagline bragged about being “old school American horror” precious little that actually felt like, well “Old School American Horror.”
Instead, Hatchet felt like some very new school horseshit. With it’s mountain dew pacing, non stop barrage of mythology, boobs, and way OTT gore, it felt much more like your sugar addled friend in Jr. High relating a slasher movie to you the night after he snuck a peek on HBO. It had about as much in common with the slow burn punctuated by incredible lapses in taste style that make up the pacing of actual eighties slasher film as it did with The Russian Ballet.
Wrong Turn 2 On the other hand does feel like Old School American Horror. It’s not perfect, there’s a long dead zone after the first kill, and are long stretches that assume an investment with the plot and character that simply doesn’t exist. And it serves up tasteless scenes with more vigor then John Waters. Does it include a fucked up Dinner Scene ripping off The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? What do you think?
But if those aren’t hallmarks of the old school slasher experience then I don’t know what is. Its detrements all work as boons. By paradoxically, by being a much more boring film than Hatchet, Wrong Turn 2 becomes a much more entertaining one.
Henry Rollin’s plays a retired Army Colonel who hosts a reality show. Which is a little like having Noam Chomsky play Michael Steele in a biopic. Still it doesn’t matter, as Henry Rollins is intrinsically awesome. And him doing his best impression of Arnie in Predator as he hunt's inbred mutant hillbillies is more so.
Rollins is leading a crew of spoiled twenty some things into the woods, to compete on the “ultimate survivor” (geddit?). Unfortunately as they have picked the one woods in Virginia that is also the territory of cannibalistic super mutants (presumably) and said cannibalistic super mutants don’t find location scouts tasty, the cast finds itself splattered all over the woods.
(Your reaction is the correct one)
What follows is surprisingly pretty good. Taking the time to include little grace notes that I forgot I missed in horror (No I didn’t) like having at least three characters other then Rollins who weren’t intentionally designed to be hateful fodder. A plot twist I didn't see coming. It contains expositional and character building scenes, that manage to not be even more grim and joyless then the kills. It even includes one scene, set during a “birthing” that breaks through the genial air of nostalgia to approach something like real fright.
The film mostly eschew’s the dread CGI gore shot, well except for the case of an egregiously bad “Ax To the head” shot and a fucking terrible “arrow to the head” shot. Which would have been a lot easier to ignore had it not occurred at the two most crucial scenes in the film.
You do get to watch a mutant masturbate though…
So yeah, Wrong Turn 2 might not be anyone’s idea of a masterpiece, but if modern films occasionally make you wonder why you like horror in the first place, Wrong Turn 2 might feature as a nice surprise.
It goes down smooth.
Almost as if it were simple undemanding “Old School American Horror” you might say.
(Special thanks to Emily, without whom I wouldn’t have seen the film)