Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Tom Frederic, Janet Montgomery, Gil Kolirin, Christian Contreras, Jake Curran, Tom McKay, Borislav Petrov
Directed by Declan O’Brien
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Four twenty-somethings on a white water rafting trip. One lights up a joint. A woman with a nice rack pops her top. Attempted nookie ends in carnage. A rousing start that plays like your typical slasher flick condensed down into a compact five-minute mini-movie. Then the opening credits roll, and Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead makes nothing but wrong turns for the next 85 minutes.
What are you more interested in when watching a Wrong Turn movie: (a) characters getting stalked by an inbred cannibal and having to fight to stay alive or (b) escaped cons incessantly arguing over bags of money, who is going to carry those bags of money, how they are going to get away with the bags of money, and who is going to double-cross the others and try to make off with the bags of money?
This sequel expects you to care more about the latter because the inbred cannibal killing them is treated more as a side nuisance hindering their escape with the money than the primary threat. When you fail to treat a life or death scenario as a life or death scenario, you completely undercut any chance of tension unless you really are on the edge of your seat anticipating when the big skinhead arsonist will finally backstab the others over the money bags.
The cackling “Three Finger” from the previous installments (the only killer inbred this time out – although a second does appear for about a minute) runs a prison bus off the road, unleashing such a stereotypical lot of convict types I found myself longing for the stereotypical horny teens from a few minutes earlier. The prisoners take the guards hostage and look for a way out of the forest. Three Finger kills a guard and starts lobbing arrows their way. One moment everybody is ducking behind rocks to avoid being shot, and the next they’re back standing out in the open showing little concern about the unknown individual in the woods trying to kill them.
They find the lone female survivor from the opening sequence and decide not to rape and kill her because she can lead them to some rafts they can use to get down the river. Less credence is given to her screams about a mutant killer cannibal in the woods than to the rafts she can lead them to.
Once they find a crashed armored car in the middle of the woods, more emphasis is put on the cons infighting over the bags of money found inside it than there ever is about the inbred cannibal.
The criminals even do something that you think would make this a personal vendetta for Three Finger; yet, the script misses an opportunity to change up the dynamics by following up on this incident. Just a bad script loaded with dialogue that sounds like it was written by a 13-year old who confuses profanity with attitude (or Rob Zombie).
The cast is predominantly British, explaining why they frequently let their Brit accents slip through. Trying to sound American might also explain why their acting is more wooden than the trees they are surrounded by.
Taking the directorial reins for this third outing is Declan O’Brien, helmer of such Syfy original movies as Cyclops, Monster Ark, and Rock Monster. If not for the overabundance of f-bombs, I would swear Wrong Turn 3 was intended to be a Syfy original. They even filmed it in Bulgaria like so many Syfy films. Though I would argue the computer effects in O’Brien’s past Syfy endeavors were superior. I’ll take the Rock Monster over the CGI slicing and dicing here.
Nearly every kill is marred by unconvincing digital splatter or practical special effects that are shockingly low rent for a motion picture produced by a major studio, even for a direct-to-DVD threequel. The Three Finger make-up job originated by Stan Winston this time looks depressingly like a latex skin mask pulled over the actor’s face; he looks positively rubberfaced. The embarrassing green screen backdrop seen during a critical climactic scene left me convinced that Wrong Turn 3 was a cheap, shoddy rush job 20th Century Fox produced as an afterthought just to make a cheap buck on DVD around Halloween.
As is usually the case, the Blu-ray looks better than the DVD in terms of picture quality, but that’s pretty much where the differences lie. Both the Blu and the standard def DVD contain a few deleted scenes and three featurettes. An average package at best. No commentary or anything else to merit much beyond a rental for the completists in the group who must see every installment in a franchise.
You only need one finger to give Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead a thumb’s down.
1 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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