It’s Henry Rollins’ turn to face off against the inbred cannibal hillbillies in Wrong Turn 2: Dead End. It’s a good job he’s here too, because otherwise there wouldn’t be much to recommend beyond the old favourites of random deaths and equally random female nudity. If any other modern horror franchise said “teen male audience” more than the Wrong Turn films, then I’d be very surprised.
Overall there’s a greater knowing nod and a wink to the audience this time round, upping the humour without skimping on the gore. The plot is an in-joke in itself. A group of reality TV hopefuls are all trying to prove they have what it takes to survive in an apocalypse situation. They quickly find themselves in genuine danger when they are targeted by a family of cannibal hillbillies. And thus all the usual cliches are trotted out in what is already a very familiar routine.
You should know what to expect then. Any pleasure of the flesh is met by death, as is general stupidity and arguing amongst one another. We wouldn’t have a film if the characters didn’t run through the usual process of ignorance and lack of judgement, but it would be nice now and again for that to be broken, have the characters break away from the usual cliches but still find themselves with nowhere to go. I may be asking too much, or overcomplicating the subject.
There are improvements over the first film is that the various characters get a small amount of time to establish their personality before the bodies start dropping en masse. There’s more fun to be had in the show within a film format, more so when the characters think the cannibals are part of the apocalyptic setup. Here’s a thought for you: they’re not.
Additionally more time is spent on the inbred cannibals, establishing more of their family structure, their particular perversions and how they represent a dark mirror image of the traditional American family structure. It’s almost as if the film is saying that is what the family unit would look like if all the rules of society were thrown out of the window. Their role is dark, unhinged, and lacking in boundaries. Obviously, because they kill others with barely a thought, their own particularly sinister moral code at play. Suffice to say, it’s not a pretty picture.
Ultimately this is Rollins’ film. He dominates every scene he appears in and proves to be a uniquely entertaining diversion to the typical routine of youngsters being killed in a variety of gruesome ways. It’s just disappointing that, despite his strong presence, there isn’t much else to really boost the film into a more entertaining place. If you took him out of the picture completely there would be no depth at all, no fun besides watching lots of people die.
With that in mind, it is because he is here to mix things up that it’s a step above almost every other film in the franchise bar the original. Sometimes that’s all you need.