A Different Kind of Reality Show – Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

With the second installment of the Wrong Turn franchise, it deviates just slightly from the first as no literal wrong turn is made, except perhaps when it comes to the choices that the characters make in the film. When this movie first premiered in 2007, reality shows were still all the rage, despite premiering a number of years earlier – a cheap alternative to scripted television. Today there is nothing special about them, the proliferation of shows about people seeking their fifteen minutes of fame on a glut of channels the norm instead of being the exception. Wrong Turn 2 takes the reality genre and frames it as a behind-the-scenes type of picture as the characters in the movie have signed on to do a new reality show. With an armageddon-like premise and thus making it all about survival, they just begin to film it when the cast and crew run into a family of misshapen backwoods people who are of course, cannibals.

Also unlike the first picture and despite the characterization present, the protagonists of the movie are not as personable and when they start getting killed off, it is hard to care about them in any way, if at all. The only member of the cast that shows any charisma or makes an impression is Henry Rollins as the host of the reality series. It is from host to survivalist to hunter that Rollins ends up becoming and while the subject matter is somewhat of a serious nature given the genre, Rollins still manages to generate a smile out of the audience with his performance. Rounding out the cast were Erica Leerhsen, Texas Battle and Aleksa Palladino among others and while they were not that bad at the end of the day, there was little to like more than the average victim of any slasher film from the previous twenty years.

One interesting little nugget presented in this film amongst all the gratuitous violence perpetrated by the cannibal family is their origin story, or at least that is what one is supposed to surmise given the end of the movie which also doubles as a cliff-hanger. It does explain the disfigured horrors that the family eventually turned out to be, but where it might provide a little historical context and give them an excuse for their actions, the movie might have worked just a little bit better if their past remained shrouded in mystery much like the villains of the first in the series did.

Once again, the special effects used to create the makeup for the cannibals was quite good and the family painted a fearsome portrait on the screen and while they were quite obviously the monsters of the picture, there were a few moments when it was almost hopeful that they would come out on top over the city folk. Dead End might not have been the best sequel to ever happen in any series, but it was by no means that bad, simply an average outing which in the scheme of things, is not that awful for a horror movie.

2.5 out of 5

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