On May 30, 2003, a little horror movie called Wrong Turn was released. What many people don't know, even horror fans, is that it was followed up by five sequels. The first movie was the only one released theatrically, but it has been a successful DVD franchise, and has garnered a small but loyal following.
Yes, when you get down to it, all the movies are your basic slasher films that follow the the usual formula (I don't even know why college students even gather together in groups anymore. They always end up dead). However, there are a few characteristics that set the series above most other direct-to-video franchises, and even above some theatrical franchises.
The series is almost an anthology; while there are threads that connect all the movies together, each movie has its own story, so you won't really be lost if you watch them out of order. It also doesn't take itself too seriously. The movies aren't comedies, but there are humorous moments, and there are even kills that you have to giggle at.
That brings me to the last point: the series is known for its creative and gory violence. With so many slasher movies in existence, it's true that we have seen many types of kills repeated. But you can count on the Wrong Turn series to always come up with some memorable ways to torture, kill, or dismember people.
Let's look back at the past 13 years of people taking wrong turns, shall we?
Warning: The rest of this article contains a few spoilers and some graphic images.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Plot: A group of travelers get stranded in the woods of West Virginia after their cars collide. Upon looking for help, they find a cabin that belongs to three mutant cannibal brothers, Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and One Eye. The college kids try to stay alive, and the cannibals try to eat them. Two kids survive. Saw Tooth and One Eye are killed.
Memorable moment: four of the students are trapped in the cabin and must silently watch their friend be dismembered and eaten.
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
Plot: The cast and crew of a survival reality TV show travel to the woods of West Virginia to shoot some footage. A cannibal family, including Three Finger, spots them, and hunts them for food and for sport. We learn that the cannibal family developed through years of incest and drinking water that was contaminated with waste from a nearby paper mill. Two people live. Three Finger has a son.
Memorable moment: an actress gets her lip bitten off by one cannibal and then cut in half - vertically - by another cannibal.
Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)
Plot: A group of hardened criminals is being transported on a prison bus through the woods. Three Finger rams the bus with his truck, which forces the prisoners to continue on foot. They find a wrecked armored truck, which contains a gun and several bags of money. Three Finger's son, Three Toe, sets a trap for a couple of the criminals, but they escape and kill Three Toe. They leave his head behind as a warning, which enrages Three Finger, and there is a battle for survival and money. No people survive. Three Finger is killed at the end.
Memorable moment: the guy that gets sliced - vertically - into three pieces (take that, Part 2!)
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)
Plot: This might be the origin story; it also starts an alternate timeline that continues through the next two movies. In either case, it starts in 1974, when three deformed boys known as the Hillicker brothers (Three Fingers, Saw Tooth, and One Eye, from the first movie) escape their room in a West Virginia sanatorium, and lead a massacre of all the doctors and nurses.
Then the movie jumps up to 2003, when a group of college students go snowmobiling and get caught in a blizzard. They find the deserted sanatorium. The three brothers still live there, and are ready to start catching and killing their next meals. Nobody survives except for the Hilliker brothers.
Memorable moment: The girl that gets hanged with barbed wire.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)
Plot: The Hillicker brothers join up with their psychotic father, Maynard, (played by Doug Bradley, better known as Pinhead from the Hellraiser series) and go on a killing spree near Fairlake, West Virginia. Meanwhile, the town of Fairlake has started an annual Mountain Man Music Festival. On their way to the festival, a group of college students run into Maynard, and after a struggle, everybody ends up in the local jail. The Hillicker brothers decide to bust their father out of jail, and kill anybody that gets in their way. Nobody survives except for Maynard and the Hilliker brothers.
Memorable moment: The guy that gets buried up to his neck in a soccer field, and then gets run over with a huge snow blower.
Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014)
Plot: A young man named Danny has inherited a resort in Hobb Springs, West Virginia, so he brings his girlfriend and his buddies out to stay there until he decides what to do with it. The caretakers of the place, a brother and sister, want Danny to take his rightful place in their clan, which now engage in ritual incest in order to keep their bloodline "pure". Since Danny brought other people, they are expendable. One person survives, along with the Hillliker brothers.
Memorable moment: The girl that rides her bike into barbed wire at eye level.
Wrong Turn 7?
There has been talk of making another Wrong Turn movie, but there's nothing concrete. I for one hope they do continue the series. They are better than many movies that actually get theatrical releases.