Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines Celebrates Halloween with Torture and Mayhem: A Movie Review

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*there are spoilers here.

Director/writer: Declan O'Brien.

Cast: Doug Bradley, Roxanne McKee, Camilla Arfwedson, Borislav Iliev, Peter Brooke, Paul Luebke, Kyle Redmond-Jones, Radoslav Parvanov, Amy Lennox, Duncan Wisbey, Oliver Hoare, George Karlukovski, and Simon Ginty.

The Wrong Turn series of films has become a little confusing to follow. Two mutant hillbillies were killed in the original Wrong Turn film: Saw Tooth and One Eye. This left Three Finger alone to fight in Wrong Turn 2: Dead End and Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead. Three Finger's deformed son Three Toes would participate in the second sequel. And, in Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines, the action begins after Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings and before the original Wrong Turn and the next two sequels. Are you confused now too? Director Declan O'Brien has had to play around with the timeline of this horror franchise a bit as many of the villains were killed off early in the franchise. However, three hillbillies (Three Finger, Saw Tooth, One Eye) are set to attend the Mountain Man Music Festival in West Virginia, in this fifth film. It is here where several characters will die and it is also here where the histories of Three Finger, Saw Tooth and One Eye are mapped out.

This fifth film in the series begins with a title sequence that develops some backstory for the franchise. In the 1800s, there was a dispute between a group of murderous hillbillies and another group of miners in Fairlake, West Virginia. The two groups clashed and the hillbillies won. The town was then left as a ghost town. The events in this film take place in Fairlake two hundred years after these events.

Fairlake is again thriving with life as concert goers celebrate Halloween. However, the hillbillies have also returned to take back their town. It is not long before Three Finger, Saw Tooth and One Eye set about making their presence known. First, they destroy a radio tower, which ends cell phone coverage in the area. They then sink the electrical grid through a brutal axe attack. These three mutant hillbillies seem smarter here than in the previous films as they deliberately and expertly go about isolating the town of Fairlake.

It is all down hill from here for the festival goers. Five friends: Billy (Simon Ginty), Gus (Paul Luebke), Julian (Oliver Hoare), Cruz (Amy Lennox), and Lita (Roxanne McKee), are caught in an ambush on the road to the festival. One friend is jailed and the other four hole up in a local hotel. Then, Cruz wanders off on her own at night and horror fans will now how this character fares. Other friends find temporary safety in the jail before a whirlwind of bloodshed tears through the town. And, actor Doug Bradley as Maynard predicts all of the violence beforehand.

Much of the murder is depicted graphically and developed creatively. One of the more grisly kills involves a modern Bronze Bull aka a Brazen Bull torture device. The Bronze Bull was a Greek tool of mass execution. A victim or set of victims would be inserted into the bull before being cooked alive from below. The drunken character Mose (Duncan Wisbey) is housed in a barrel and heated similarly. Two other characters are ground up in a corn thresher, while a few others are simply gutted. Even a security guard is martyred Christian style by electrical wires. All of the violence is well choreographed and sometimes hard to watch.

There is no doubt that director Declan O'Brien enjoys making these films. This is his third Wrong Turn film. And, O'Brien knows how to give horror fans what they want. There is plenty of death, sex, some unpredictability and a tragic ending in the film. All of these elements create for an over-the-top horror viewing experience. As well, film elements such as the score, acting and production are also competently created and Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is one of the better films in this long running horror franchise.

This film viewer is a fan of the fourth film, Wrong Turn 4, but the showing here is also entertaining. O'Brien goes the distance to create a macabre story set in an isolated town. Here, Saw Tooth, Three Finger and One Eye go about doing what they do best. Only a lack of festival goers drains believability and one character on a ham radio serves little purpose. Outside of a few missteps, Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines delivers the gory goods.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (bloody, unrated, sound effects are off early, acting is okay to good, Bradley delivers some good lines).

The film's fan page is here:

Wrong Turn 5 on Facebook

*a linear plot progression for the series would begin with Wrong Turn 4, followed by Wrong Turn 5, the original Wrong Turn, Wrong Turn: 2 and then Wrong Turn 3.

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