Sometimes when you’re on the set of a film your expectations for it can be somewhat heightened. I didn’t leave the set of Wrong Turn 5 expecting a great film, but I was expecting something slightly less excruciating. After all, the actors were nice! And writer/director Declan O’Brien seemed to be having fun with the material (at least he verbally professed his love for the franchise and its mutants)! It was a good experience overall and I was treated well by Mr. O’Brien and everyone on set. Plus, I sort of liked Wrong Turn 4 – so I was actually kind of excited to crack the seal on my screener.
But no. Wrong Turn 5 is easily the worst film in the series. I also believe that it’s one of the most worthless films I’ve seen in my adult life. I’m going to list some of the film’s comparatively minor problems first before I head into why it’s a truly offensive piece of work that insults not only horror fans, but humanity in general.
Here are ten minor issues with the film:
1. The direction isn’t incompetent, it’s just willfully lazy. Which is far less charming.
2. The hillbilly makeup is horrible, it looks like aged candle wax and is applied by people who clearly do not understand the concept of blending makeup to an actor’s existing skin tone.
3. The cannibals don’t actually seem interested in eating anybody (except for the first victim they kill). I’ve never seen hunters go so far out of their way to destroy, leave behind and bury potential sources of food.
4. Doug Bradley’s Maynard is the most annoying character I’ve seen in a horror film since I started working at Bloody-Disgusting.
5. They managed to photograph the sets, which actually looked okay in real life, in a way that makes the whole film seem like a nightmare someone had on the set of Synecdoche, NY.
6. We’re supposed to go along with the logic of a Sheriff who lets a group of kids out of jail because they asked to leave.
7. It takes place at a music festival that doesn’t seem to actually exist.
8. Three Finger, One Eye and Saw Tooth won’t stop giggling. They, like Maynard, are profoundly annoying.
9. The kills are unbelievably smug and and wholeheartedly stupid. I’ve never seen a film that thinks it has elaborate kills, but actually doesn’t. It’s like a 5-year-old watched one of the Saw sequels, whipped out his crayons and tried to design his own trap.
10. It’s boring.
Now that I’m warmed up, let’s get to the film’s major problem. It’s ugly, mean-spirited, stupid and seems to truly hate women. That’s an unwieldy combination. Have I watched gorier films than Wrong Turn 5? Yes. Have I watched darker films? Yes. Have I watched films with graphic depictions of rape? Yes. Does Wrong Turn 5 have a graphic depiction of rape? No. But somehow, through the sum total of its parts, it managed to be the one of the most truly unpleasant viewing experiences of my life.
I think part of the key here is the utter disdain the film has for its audience. This movie doesn’t care if you like it or not. It’s not meant to be enjoyed, it’s meant to be bought. It’s so cynical that it may very well be the first film in history that is actually 100% product. Since Thomas Edison invented the motion-picture camera , film has been involved in a tug-of-war between art and commerce. Here, commerce wins out. I feel like Mr. O’Brien doesn’t like this film and he doesn’t care if you do either.
All of this not giving a sh*t leads to an even deeper problem. As a piece of pure commerce, WT5 goes to places it has no right going to. I suspect O’Brien intended the film’s mean-spiritedness to play as goofy fun, but it’s grating to a punishing degree. Even worse, the film ends on the implication that Roxanne McKee’s character is going to be raped repeatedly by Maynard and the cannibals. This is designed to be a punchy ending that sends you out of the theater (or hitting the eject button on your Blu-ray player) on a high note. Instead, you just want to take a shower and pray to the heavens above that you never live to see a Wrong Turn 6. I guess O’Brien forgot to take into consideration the fact that four people raping a girl whose eyes have been gouged out is never funny!
Score: 1/10 – please note that the only reason I’m giving it a 1/10 and not a 0/10 is because I don’t want someone to look at the complete lack of skulls on the film’s page and think that it simply hasn’t been reviewed. Please just think of this one point towards the film’s ranking as a warning flare – stay away.