top of page
  • Writer's pictureAllan Major

Wrong Turn 2003 Reviewed

Featured Image For Wrong Turn 2003 Reviewed.   Movie poster for 'Wrong Turn' featuring a terrified woman in the foreground and a menacing face partially obscured by shadows in the background.
In 'Wrong Turn,' one misstep leads to a horrifying fate. As shadows close in, the forest hides creatures far more terrifying than any nightmare.

In the heart of the early 2000s, amidst a resurgence of slasher films that brought new life to the genre, emerged a movie that left a lasting impression on horror fans. "Wrong Turn," directed by Rob Schmidt, is a visceral journey into the depths of terror, where the woods of West Virginia become a labyrinth of nightmares. The film's opening scenes set a tone of inescapable dread, pulling the viewer into a narrative that is both relentless and chilling. The story begins with a simple premise—a wrong turn that spirals into a hellish ordeal, making it a standout among horror flicks of its time.

Key Takeaways From This Film

  • Relentless Tension and Suspense

  • "Wrong Turn" masterfully builds and sustains tension throughout the film, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats with its fast-paced narrative and expertly timed jump scares.

  • Memorable and Terrifying Antagonists

  • The film's portrayal of inbred cannibalistic hillbillies, with their grotesque appearances and brutal methods, creates memorable and genuinely terrifying antagonists that leave a lasting impression.

  • Strong Performances and Character Dynamics

  • Notable performances, particularly by Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington, add depth to the film. The evolving relationship between their characters, Jessie and Chris, provides a compelling dynamic that enhances the emotional stakes.

  • Effective Use of Setting and Cinematography

  • The eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere of the West Virginian woods is brought to life through effective cinematography, using natural light and shadows to create a sense of isolation and vulnerability.

  • Blend of Classic and Contemporary Horror Elements

  • "Wrong Turn" successfully blends elements of classic horror with contemporary sensibilities, drawing inspiration from films like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes," while carving out its own niche in the genre with its unique storyline and execution.

A young woman with wide eyes and a terrified expression, clutching a blanket while watching the horror film Wrong Turn.
Lost in the woods of fear, her reality warped by the horrors unfolding on screen.

Chris Flynn, played with stoic intensity by Desmond Harrington, is the quintessential hero of the tale. Late for a job interview, he decides to take a shortcut through the mountains of West Virginia. This decision, seemingly innocent, is the catalyst for the horrors that follow. As he navigates the backcountry roads, a traffic jam forces him to seek an alternate route, leading him into a collision with another vehicle stranded in the middle of the woods. This crash brings together a group of six friends—Jessie (Eliza Dushku), Carly (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Scott (Jeremy Sisto), Francine (Lindy Booth), and Evan (Kevin Zegers)—all of whom are unprepared for the nightmare that awaits them.

From the moment the characters are introduced, there's a palpable sense of foreboding. The group of friends, initially set on a road trip adventure, quickly finds themselves in a battle for survival against a family of inbred cannibalistic hillbillies. These disfigured mountain men, with their grotesque appearances and brutal methods, are the stuff of nightmares, reminiscent of the menacing figures in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes." The makeup effects, courtesy of Stan Winston, bring these villains to horrifying life, making their presence a constant source of terror throughout the film.

The cinematography of "Wrong Turn" captures the eerie beauty of the West Virginian woods, transforming the lush landscapes into a claustrophobic maze where danger lurks behind every tree. The use of natural light and shadows enhances the sense of isolation and vulnerability experienced by the characters. As they venture deeper into the woods, the audience is treated to a series of heart-pounding moments, from the discovery of a watchtower to a harrowing escape through barbed wire. Each scene is crafted to elicit maximum suspense, with jump scares that are both well-timed and genuinely frightening.

Eliza Dushku's performance as Jessie is particularly noteworthy. Her portrayal of a strong, resourceful heroine who refuses to be a victim adds depth to the film. Jessie’s evolution from a carefree traveler to a determined survivor mirrors the escalating tension of the narrative. Her chemistry with Desmond Harrington's Chris creates a compelling dynamic, as the two characters rely on each other to navigate the deadly terrain. The supporting cast, including Jeremy Sisto's affable Scott and Emmanuelle Chriqui's vulnerable Carly, deliver performances that enhance the film's emotional stakes, making the group's plight all the more engaging.

An elderly woman with wrinkled hands clasped tightly together, her face etched with fear as she watches Wrong Turn.
The chilling echoes of her own past terrors resurface as she witnesses the twisted nightmare of Wrong Turn.

A Hunger Within The Woods

"Wrong Turn" is not just a slasher film; it’s a masterclass in building and sustaining tension. Rob Schmidt’s direction ensures that the pacing never falters, keeping the audience on edge from start to finish. The film’s soundtrack, with its haunting melodies and sudden crescendos, underscores the pervasive sense of dread. The sound design, from the crackling of leaves to the guttural growls of the cannibals, immerses viewers in the terror of the backwoods setting.

The film’s success lies in its ability to blend elements of classic horror with contemporary sensibilities. The influence of earlier works like "Deliverance" and "Friday the 13th" is evident, yet "Wrong Turn" manages to carve out its own niche in the genre. Its portrayal of inbred hicks as the antagonists taps into deep-seated fears of the unknown and the monstrous other, themes that have long been staples of horror cinema. The film’s gore, while graphic, is never gratuitous; it serves to heighten the stakes and underscore the brutality of the cannibals’ world.

User reviews on platforms like IMDb often praise the film for its relentless pace and effective scares. Horror fans appreciate the way "Wrong Turn" delivers on its promise of a bloodcurdling experience, combining visceral horror with moments of dark humor. The film’s ability to entertain while simultaneously horrifying its audience makes it a standout in the crowded field of early 2000s horror movies.

In the end, "Wrong Turn" is a film that resonates with both hardcore horror aficionados and casual viewers. Its blend of suspense, gore, and character-driven storytelling ensures that it remains a favorite among those who enjoy a good scare. The movie’s legacy is evident in its numerous sequels, each attempting to recapture the magic of the original. However, it is the 2003 film, with its raw intensity and unflinching vision, that continues to haunt the collective memory of horror fans.

As the credits roll, one is left with a lingering sense of unease, a testament to the film's effectiveness. "Wrong Turn" is a reminder of the primal fears that lurk within us all, fears that can be awakened by something as simple as a wrong turn. It’s a film that stands the test of time, a chilling journey into the heart of darkness that is as entertaining as it is terrifying. For anyone seeking a horror movie that delivers both thrills and chills, "Wrong Turn" is a detour worth taking.

And that is Wrong Turn 2003 Reviewed. Another 2000s Horror Movie that sparked a franchise. 

Stay tuned for more horror movie reviews

If You Liked Wrong Turn You Might Also Like These Films

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Often regarded as one of the most influential horror films, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" tells the story of a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths in rural Texas. The film is known for its raw and gritty depiction of horror, with Leatherface becoming an iconic figure in the genre. Its disturbing atmosphere and relentless tension make it a must-watch for fans of "Wrong Turn."

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Directed by Wes Craven, "The Hills Have Eyes" follows a suburban family who become stranded in the Nevada desert and are attacked by a clan of savage cannibals. The film is a brutal and unflinching exploration of survival and human savagery. Its desolate setting and shocking violence resonate with the themes of isolation and terror found in "Wrong Turn."

Deliverance (1972)

While not strictly a horror film, "Deliverance" is a harrowing tale of survival in the wilderness. The story centers on four city men who embark on a canoe trip in the Georgia backwoods, only to encounter violence and danger from the local hillbillies. The film's intense and realistic portrayal of man versus nature and man versus man conflict makes it a gripping and disturbing experience, akin to the survival elements in "Wrong Turn."

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Directed by Rob Zombie, "House of 1000 Corpses" is a macabre and gory horror film that follows two young couples as they explore the backroads of America in search of urban legends. They end up in the clutches of the sadistic Firefly family. The film's over-the-top violence, eccentric characters, and dark humor create a twisted and nightmarish atmosphere that will appeal to fans of "Wrong Turn."

The Descent (2005)

"The Descent" is a claustrophobic and terrifying horror film about a group of women who go on a caving expedition in the Appalachian Mountains. They become trapped underground and discover they are not alone, facing off against deadly creatures lurking in the darkness. The film's intense atmosphere, strong character dynamics, and relentless suspense make it a standout in the genre, much like the survival horror elements of "Wrong Turn."

Wrong Turn 2003 Reviewed FAQs

Q: What is Wrong Turn about?

A: Wrong Turn tells the story of a group of six friends who become lost in the woods of West Virginia after their vehicles collide. They must face an uncertain and bloodcurdling fate when they encounter a family of deformed, cannibalistic rednecks. The group, led by Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) and Jessie (Eliza Dushku), struggles to survive against the relentless and horrifying mountain men.

Q: Who directed the movie Wrong Turn?

A: Wrong Turn was directed by Rob Schmidt, known for his work in the horror genre. This film is one of his most notable directorial efforts, contributing to the early 2000s resurgence of slasher films.

Q: What genre does Wrong Turn fall into?

A: Wrong Turn is a horror film, specifically a slasher flick. It combines elements of survival horror and backwoods horror, drawing inspiration from classics like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hills Have Eyes."

Q: Can you name some of the cast members of Wrong Turn?

A: The cast of Wrong Turn includes notable actors such as Eliza Dushku (Jessie), Desmond Harrington (Chris Flynn), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Carly), Jeremy Sisto (Scott), Lindy Booth (Francine), and Kevin Zegers (Evan). Additionally, Julian Richings, Garry Robbins, and Ted Clark play some of the terrifying antagonists in the film.

Q: Is Wrong Turn considered a classic horror movie?

A: Yes, Wrong Turn has gained a cult following and is often regarded as a classic in the horror genre. Its effective blend of suspense, gore, and character-driven storytelling has earned it a dedicated fanbase and a significant place in horror movie history.

Q: What makes Wrong Turn worth watching?

A: Wrong Turn is known for its gory scenes, entertaining storyline, and the thrill of a group of characters trying to survive in a hostile environment. The film's relentless pace, memorable villains, and the strong performances of its cast make it a standout in the slasher genre. Its combination of visceral horror and dark humor keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Q: How would you describe the overall feel of Wrong Turn?

A: Wrong Turn is a middle-of-the-road horror movie that manages to be both fun and terrifying at the same time. Its eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere and relentless tension create a gripping viewing experience. The film's effective use of setting and suspense makes it a compelling watch for horror fans.

Q: Are there any user reviews available for Wrong Turn?

A: Yes, user reviews for Wrong Turn are available on platforms like IMDb. While some viewers may not enjoy the graphic nature of the film, many horror movie fans consider Wrong Turn to be a classic slasher movie worth a watch. The film's blend of suspense, gore, and character-driven storytelling has earned it positive reviews and a dedicated fanbase.


bottom of page