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April 2010

Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead

cast: Tom Frederic, Janet Montgoemery, Gil Kolirin, Tamer Hassan

director: Declan O'Brien

92 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
20th Century Fox DVD Region 2 + 4 retail

RATING: 6/10
review by Mark West

Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead
Opening on a group of friends rafting down a river, the film quickly despatches them (after a quite incredible bit of gratuitous nudity) leaving just one survivor, Alex (Janet Montgomery), and then we jump to a local prison. A warder who wants more, Nate (Tom Frederic), is assigned to supervise the transport of several dangers criminals - the Hispanic gang-boss Chavez (Tamer Hassan), neo-Nazi skinhead Floyd (Gil Kolirin), ratty car thief Crawford (Jake Curran), and Brandon (Tom McKay), an army vet who might have killed a man. Along the way, the mutant (here played by Borislav Petrov) from the first Wrong Turn, manages to knock the prison bus off the road and then spends the rest of the film picking the survivors off, as they in turn whittle down their numbers on their own.

This isn't a bad film, certainly in so far as a second sequel to an admittedly B-movie original should be expected to behave and mostly does its job, but it does have its problems. Apart from gifting us with Alex, the opening sequence only exists to show some Friday The 13th style gore (not badly done, as it happens) and the breasts of Louise Cliffe, before leading us directly to the prison. It is alluded to, on more than one occasion, that these are very dangerous men, but they are generally compliant and the warders leave them and a female deputy alone in a room at one point. Once the film gets going (i.e., when the prisoners, Nate and Alex, have to band together to escape the mutant), it's generally fast paced and occasionally quite gripping. But it does enjoy its fight sequences and trick endings and they can get a bit tiresome after a while.

It's quite a good looking film - the framing is generally well done, the night shots are very clear, there's not an over-reliance on shaky-cam and most of the physical effects are clever (shame the same can't be said for the CGI, which is pretty bad). There did seem to be front-projection issues too - in the prison van, facing out of the windscreen, the angles are all wrong and it's so apparent, it's amazing nobody connected with the film noticed. There's also a terrific shot where the mutant jumps onto a van and whilst it's quick, it's very obvious that the background is projected and truck isn't moving at all. The editing is also very bitty at the start, with characters seeming to lurch around at times, with not much of it flowing. Once they get to the woods, for some reason, this stops.

The acting is of a decent enough calibre, certainly for this type of film, that you sort of wish they'd spent a little more time on the dialogue than wondering how to kill people creatively. Tom Frederic underplays his part nicely, Janet Montgomery is good when she's not screaming, Gil Kolirin is scarily convincing as the neo-Nazi, and Tamer Hassan acquits himself well, albeit with a wandering accent.

As I was watching, I have to admit that I did make some general observations, which I'll share here: the group come across an armoured van at one point, right in the middle of the woods, which is still full of money. Had nobody ever tried to find it, because it certainly didn't take our heroes long?

If a mutant, as badly disfigured as our lead baddie, is keeping a low profile (which he must be, since the sheriff doesn't know of him), where does he get the petrol from to run his truck?

If Tamar Hassan is punching someone in the face, repeatedly and the soundtrack offers up several breaking/ snapping sounds, why would the victim only have a slight dribble of blood coming from his lip?

I don't know if it's in Good-Mutant-House-keeping magazine, but what is it about these movie cannibals that they feel compelled to leave their food out everywhere, as if it's being exhibited?

In a second-sequel-to-a-B-movie, if the lead character says it's all over and there's 10 minutes to run, it's a safe bet that the bloke they thought they'd killed hasn't died at all.

In a film like this, it's best not to have two characters change personality traits in the very last scene and then introduce another character you had no knowledge of to set up another sequel.

As I said, this isn't a bad film and, let's be honest, if it's called Wrong Turn 3 and it's released straight to disc, you have certain expectations of it anyway. To my surprise, this was pretty good fun, it delivered what it was supposed to and it was competently made.

There were two extras on my screener copy. A set of two deleted scenes (one showing the female deputy in trouble, which was good because they completely cut out how, in the film, the mutant captures her) and an 18-minute making-of that is cheery and notable for relaying the fact that 90 percent of the cast were British (and all of whom had me convinced of their American accents).

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