Wrong Turn/Cabin Fever Double Feature (2003/2002)
By: James Gillett on July 29, 2009 | Comments
Icon (Australia) Region A, B & C, 1080P (50Hz). 1:85:1/2:35:1 (16:9 Enhanced). English DD 5.1, HDMA 5.1. 81/88 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Rob Schmidt/Eli Roth
Starring: Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto/Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent
Screenplay: Alan B. McElroy/ Eli Roth
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase
Wrong Turn: Chris (Desmond Harrington), a guy on his way to an important interview, finds himself well in need of an alternative route after the highway becomes a no-go. Before you know it, he's managed to crash into a parked car, get himself stranded on some isolated country road and met up with a group of other 20 something's (including Eliza Dushku). It's then, with no transport and no other choice, the group sets out to find a phone; they just didn't count on running into a family of murderous inbred hillbillies bastards...

Wrong Turn will seem fairly familiar to anyone who's seen Deliverance (name dropped in the movie), The Hills Have Eyes or any number of 'Group of younglings' run into 'nasties in backwoods' style horror films. The best part of this one is it's more than happy to revel in its genre heritage. It's a good thing too, because it means it can take the baton and run with it; giving fans exactly what they want.

Other than familiarity, the first thing that stands out about this baby is the effort that's gone into making it visually interesting. It's filled with some impressive camera work; most noticeably a tracking shot that glides all the way into a key-hole to revel a watchful eye. Also look out for the swooping shots in the particularly standout tree top sequence (if you like that sort of thing). The extra splash of style is a nice contrast to the otherwise gritty 70's vibe to the film.

But it's not all fancy pants shots; you get the nasty stuff too. Stan Winston's company was responsible for producing this, so you can bet there's no shortage of tasty make-up effects and gore to enjoy a little more than you should. The kills themselves are also handled in a fairly mean fashion, making them seem a little nastier than they really are. It's really not all that graphic, but the manner in which the victims bite the dust has some occasional impact.

I have to say that one of the things that really makes this movie stand out for me is the dynamic between the two leads; Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington. They both pull good performances, with Dushku doing her tuff girl thing and Harrington also good as your typical take charge kind-a guy. But instead of him just being the ass-kicker in this one, Dushku is just as much of a badass. It's a nice touch and it gives the film a little character. Sure, you still have some girly girls running around but Dushku's role goes just a little against the grain, and it ends up making this slasher a little more interesting.

Really all you need to know is that Wrong Turn is an entertaining slasher. While it's not going to give you anything particularly deep (or groundbreaking for that matter), what you will get is exactly what you paid for: murderous inbred hillbillies, hunting down out-of-towners and presented to you in a slick (with blood) package. Hey, nothing Wrong with that...

Trivia Bits: Screenwriter Alan B. McElroy also wrote Halloween 4.

Cabin Fever: Regardless of what you think of Eli Roth personally, the guy can make a good genre movie. Case in point: his debut horror film Cabin Fever. Appearing on screens back in 2002, this film gave horror fans something of a return, while also been a homage to, the more gooey horror efforts of the 80's.

The setup is simple. Five youngsters decide to rent a cabin in a fairly secluded country area. They mess about and interact with the locals. Then the virus arrives...

Yep, no masked killer or possessing demons in this one. Cabin Fever is all about playing to one universally identifiable fear: Sickness. The protagonists of Cabin Fever are faced with the kind of scenario that would test any friendship, bring out someone's true colours and make for a damn interesting idea for a horror movie; what would you do if a friend had a possibly contagious, most likely fatal, flesh eating virus?

The fun here is exploring that particular scenario and its disturbing possibilities; and with all the gore and black humour you could ask for without feeling too greedy. To say things get a little nasty for our protagonists is a bit of an understatement. Roth seems to be gleefully subjecting his characters to all sorts of grotesque situations that sway from highly amusing (Deer through the windscreen) to just plain wrong (The Girl shaving her legs in the bath scene anyone?). It's quite a tightrope, but he pulls it off pretty damn well since Cabin Fever is both tense and funny. It's also quite un-PC. I don't think I've heard the term 'gay' used as a negative descriptive in a movie since... I don't know, ever? At the very least, moments like that (and it's just one of many) set a certain anything goes tone that can be refreshing in our current 'let's not offend anyone' political environment.

Well its obvious Eli Roth loves his horror cinema very much, as this one's packed full of all kinds of references for fans to lap up. Everything from a shot straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to a characters fate a-la Night of the Living Dead to a healthy nod to The Thing. It's all here and all fun. In fact you almost start watching just to see which horror classics he'll salute next. That's not to say its all steal; Roth shoots his film with a sure hand and for maximum tension. He also gives the film a pleasing autumnal hue. For a lower budget film, it certainly looks the business.

Also on offer are a bunch of strange characters that populate this oddly enjoyable movie. Our five protagonists are fairly well written and cast, made all the more interesting for their sometimes selfishness and irresponsible displays; but it's really the side characters that stand out after the credits have rolled. Deputy 'Party man' Winston is hilarious as the far too laid back cop who just wants to party. Eli Roth also makes an appearance as 'Grim"; a guy walking his dog who wants to hang out with the 'gang'. Also a mention must go to Dennis or Pancake boy as he's sometimes known. Dennis (inspired by The Feral Kid in Mad Max 2) is a kid of about 12 with long blond hair who mostly sits on the porch of a service station. That is until he's (seemingly randomly) provoked to bite someone, or display some impressive martial arts, then bite someone. It's funny and strange stuff, and doesn't feel all that out of place in this strange world Eli creates.

Well, there's not a hell of a lot I have to say about Cabin Fever in the negative. Sure, maybe it's overly comic tone in the final moments seems a little too light, but that's just nit-picky. Eli Roth has given us a slick, consistently entertaining and gory horror film, full of dark humour and amusing characters. It's a movie for all (squeamish aside) but will no doubt be best enjoyed by the die-hard horror crowd. If you love your horror and you haven't seen Cabin Fever, you're in for a treat.
Video
Wrong Turn is presented in its aspect ratio of 1:85:1. The colours are fairly good, as are the black levels. The image feels a tad soft in spots but it's only occasionally apparent. It generally it stands up well next to, if not a massive jump over, the region 4 DVD.

Cabin Fever is presented in its aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is the better looker of the two. More detail is visible compared to the films region 4 DVD and the colours are also richer. There's a little grain present in the darker scenes, but it's mostly minor. Like Wrong Turn, the improvement over the standard DVD is there, but it's not the same leap you'll find from most Blu-ray discs out there.

One of the other issues I had with both transfers is the fact they both seem to be presented in 50Hz mode instead of the usual 24p. 24p (24 frames per second progressive) simulates the frame rate of which films are presented in a cinema. It's one of the attractions of Blu-ray, but here the mode is strangely absent. Instead, both films are presented at the same speed as their PAL DVD versions (25fps), making them feel more like up-scaled DVD's with higher bitrates. I'm sure some people won't notice or mind, but it must be mentioned.

It's a little disappointing these films didn't get more impressive HD transfers in line with other current releases. The transfers are not terrible, but they're not where they could be considering the fairly recent nature and reasonable budgets. Who knows, maybe we'll see a Special Edition of each somewhere down the line?
Audio
Audio was solid across both movies. Both films present options for either 5.1 DD Surround Sound or DTS HD Master Audio. No complaints here; this is one part of the disc that doesn't disappoint.
Extra Features
Non-existent. Upon inserting the disc you get the option to play either Cabin Fever or Wrong Turn. You will then taken to a movie specific menu with the usual options; Play Movie, Scene Selection, Audio Setup or Select Film. That's it. Absolutely no extra features are present here for either film. Not even a trailer.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
While both movies are entertaining examples of recent horror, they're presented here with absolutely no extras and only passable transfers. Fans of the films would be much better served by two separate Blu-ray releases with better mastered 24p video, and at the very least, all the extras available on the DVD versions. As it is, despite retailing at the price of 1 BD, I can only recommend this disc to those who don't already own both movies, and have limited-to-no interest in special features.

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