Monday, November 9, 2015

Wrong Turn III: Left for Dead


  Not as stylish and atmospheric as the first, nor as crazy as the second, Wrong Turn 3 just seems to... exist, and little else. I suppose the way odds and such go, that even bad movies can have a few really good moments in them. Even an interesting concept behind it all. Wrong Turn 3 seeks to juxtapose a ruthless criminal against the hillbilly mutant cannibal known as Three Finger. "I don't know who's worse-" a character points out in one scene. The problem is, it's a no brainer. No matter how bad the ruthless criminal is, he won't stab you and then start eating you alive. He's motivated by survival, not a homicidal sense of fun.

  Having said that, I can see what they were trying to do- but they didn't really accomplish it.  There's some really neat moments in this one, like a spring-trap involving a winch and a whole lot of barbed wire. The opening was also pretty gruesome in some fairly creative ways. There's also some disturbing bits towards the end involving the heroine being held captive in Three Finger's... meat locker, I guess? Regardless of what it's called, it's pretty creepy. If I'm comparing sequels all across the board, I'd say this is a damn sight better than The Hills Have Eyes 2, which I still can't believe made it to theaters. I suppose my expectations were more properly aligned for this one though. The iMDB user reviews section is just page after page of one-star scathing reviews.

  Naturally, I expected a terrible movie. Wrong Turn 3 isn't terrible. It's just bland for the most part. The characters are better than the ones from The Hills Have Eyes 2, but not by much. They're not necessarily annoying, thank god. Yet, they're also incredibly standard. Not much more than walking talking cliche's. You've seen these characters a thousand times in a hundred different movies. Angry bald Aryan, violent Mexican crime lord, hyper car thief, altruistic do-gooder police officer guy, bland no-story damsel in distress, and for the icing on the cake... overweight too-old-for-this-shit-small-town-sheriff. Tell me those ALL don't sound painfully familiar. Ergo, when they start getting picked off, you don't really care. Which is not necessarily a bad thing either.

  Like the previous movie, this one also comes with a whole host of characters ready to be slaughtered. If only this one put serious effort into making their deaths more creative, it might be a bit cathartic even. The second movie had people that didn't deserve to die getting killed in variously way far more grisly than anything you might find in this one- which is full of escaped convicts making their way through the woods. You want most of these guys to die, and fast. When they start getting picked off, the movie gets better- but it lulls right back into petty arguments and run of the mill angry-convict-holding-other-people-hostage situation.

  The movie could've had them band together to fight Three Finger, but that never happens. The movie could've played up the divide and conquer aspect, but that never happens. The movie is just a bunch of bitchy convicts getting killed off one at a time. I can safely say the movie is never offensively bad, it's worse offense is some stilted acting and squandered potential. I gotta say though that bad writing and cardboard acting are kind of staples of flicks like this. It's really par for course with stuff like this. So I'm not gonna fume about stuff I'm jaded enough to actually expect at this point. You don't rank movies like this on acting and writing unless it's really amazing, unique, or abysmal. Everything in the middle is just rather expected.

  So what do you rank movies like this on? Creativity and effects. If it's short on those two things, atmosphere and style. Wrong Turn 3 is bankrupt on the two latter, and sparse on the former two- but it's not without those two things entirely. Like I've said, there are some cool moments, but whether or not those are enough to sit through heaps of boring mediocrity is up to you. I can easily see this movie being an afterthought inclusion in a marathon- like a halftime show on the football game. Some people don't pay attention, and you're really not missing much if you don't. Wrong Turn 3 isn't horrible by the standards of the genre, but it's nothing special either. The barbed-wire spring trap was easily the coolest thing in the movie and one of the most creative kills I've seen out of the first three movies, so that- plus a few other neat scenes almost earn this movie a pass. Only if you liked the first two though.

  I can see how maybe the story was recycled or salvaged from scrapped ideas that got tossed around in the writing phase for 1 and 2, but maybe they should've stayed scrapped. They're not remotely fresh. Nothing but microwaved leftovers really. I got no ill attitude towards this movie, but probably only because The Hills Have Eyes 2 was monumentally worse. If they invested just a bit more time in adding more action, and creativity into this one, it could've rivaled the second. But, the odds are stacked against anyone having a good time with it. It's a shame it's not better but makes decent background noise if you're doing stuff I guess.

  If you have no soft spot for the genre or movies like this, you'll probably hate this flick. It's simply not consistently entertaining enough to merit a standalone watch. Yet it's not wholly devoid of entertainment either. At best it's harmless and occasionally neat. At worse it's contrived, slow, and boring. Take that for what you will. I don't regret watching it. It was an alright time killer. If you're curious, and can stand fake looking CGI and a made-for-TV feel than you might find something to like here. If you do, you'll be one of the few who do. Wrong Turn 2 was so crazy and fun I bought it right after I finished watching it. The only way I'd purchase this one is in a box set... on sale. I do have a sneaking suspicion though that this franchise might be my new big guilty pleasure. Who's up for round four?

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