Written by: Frank H. Woodward
Directed by: Valeri Milev
Starring: Anthony Ilott, Chris Jarvis, and Aqueela Zoll
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman
The family needs new blood.
The Wrong Turn series presents an interesting conundrum: while it can’t really be criticized for simply recycling and cannibalizing itself (the last one was Assault on Precinct 13 with inbred mutants—hardly something you expect from a fourth slasher sequel), it has been mired in doldrums ever since Joe Lynch’s first follow-up. Try as it might, it just can’t shake them—something about these films just cause them to recede into my mind, never to be thought of again until the next one arrives. And, like clockwork, here comes Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, a title that fittingly reflects this franchise’s desperation to leave another mark. Somewhat ironically, it finally does so with a plotline that’s shades of the already infamous Texas Chainsaw--only it feels like the folks behind this sequel watched that film, then told Leatherface (in their best West Virginian drawl, of course) “hold my beer and watch this shit.”
Which is to say, holy shit, is Wrong Turn 6 nuts. Its familiar setup finds Danny (Anthony Ilott) and his friends descending upon the hills of West Virginia, where he’s set to gain a mysterious family heirloom in the form of Hobb Springs, a remote, obscure resort watched over by his distant relatives. Hoping the inheritance will help him unlock his mysterious family history, Danny eagerly accepts his position, only to quickly suspect that all is not what it seems at Hobb Springs when both his friends and the hotel patrons begin to disappear. When he begins to seek answers, he gets much more than he bargained for, which is bound to happen when you’re the long-lost descendant of an inbred clan of psychopaths.
Even with this setup, Last Resort still threatens to be pretty nondescript. There’s an obligatory prologue sequence that only serves to reintroduce audiences to the franchise’s familiar trio of maniacs and confirm that the film’s tone will be in line with previous sequels: dumb yet slightly self-aware, bordering on camp, and mostly concerned with delivering exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from the sixth entry in a slasher franchise (boobs and blood, the latter of which is occasionally aided by some noticeable CGI). The rest of the early-going doesn’t inspire much confidence: the characters range from annoying to “kill this shithead right now, please,” the gore sequences aren’t all that impressive, and the series is still bound to Bulgarian locales, which produce some dodgy accents (even dodgier than actual West Virginian accents!) and a generally cheap vibe.
We’re a long way from the creepy, suffocating wilderness of the original, as the characters here often find themselves in oddly brightly-lit environments, such as the resort’s hallways. While there’s a somewhat desolate vibe to the surroundings, Wrong Turn 6 doesn’t really bother with atmosphere or dread—hell, even One-Eye, Three-Finger, and Sawtooth have become mascots at this point, here to be trotted out as anti-heroes rather than actual antagonists now. When they’re around, anyway—longtime fans might be dismayed that these three have been pushed into the background a bit in favor of the hotel caretakers who keep them in check and on a leash. In many ways, Last Resort is more of a prequel than Bloody Beginnings, as it reveals these three to be one of dozens involved in a decades-long plot to keep things in the family, as it were.
It seems like slasher icons frequently wind up bound to some goofy mythology, and I’m sure the Wrong Turn 6 is going to conjure up memories of Halloween 6 and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. But trust me: you’re really going to want to stick the first half of the movie out just to see how wild Last Resort gets. It doesn’t quite ascend to the wackiness of those aforementioned sequels, but it’s pretty far out there. You can imagine how awkward it must be for Danny’s relatives to spill the family secrets to him—I mean, how do you gently break it to someone that they actually belong to an incestuous hillbilly brood whose initiation rituals involve blood-drinking, and…well, let’s just say that the “do your thing, cuz” moment in Last Resort is a real jaw-dropper.
Once Wrong Turn 6 embraces its craziness, just about everything improves, save for the characters, who only grow more irritating. Thankfully, the movie ramps up the gore and finds satisfying ways to dispatch them, with the most grating character being sent off quite appropriately with a murder that involves his asshole. When the next film in this franchise inevitably arrives in a year or two, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble recalling just how outlandish and insane this entry eventually proves to be. Last Resort is easily the best in the series since part two, even if it does play out like one giant slasher movie cliché in most respects. Sometimes, that’s okay—at least this film knows exactly what it is and is unafraid to go crazy. Let’s face it: by the time you’ve reached part six in a franchise revolving around psychotic kissing cousins, you might as well stare that conceit straight in the eye without blinking. Laughing at it, on the other hand, is perfectly rational, and I dare anyone to watch Wrong Turn 6 with a straight face. Buy it!
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