I thought the original Wrong Turn was an average horror film at best, so I didn't exactly rush to see what I considered an unwarranted, direct-to-DVD sequel. I don't really understand the popularity of these inbred hillbilly cannibal freaks films. I for one have no real desire to watch unwashed, nasty, hideously ugly, radioactively mutated, two-legged pieces of subhuman flotsam going around killing and eating people. I just can't get in to something like that, no matter how much blood and gore you throw my way. I much prefer my horror with erotic undertones, and there's nothing sexy about atavistic regression. I must say, though, that I enjoyed Wrong Turn 2 slightly more than the original (but not enough to give it a better rating). The filmmakers deviated slightly from the standard sequel script (for the first half of the movie, anyway), and Henry Rollins adds a presence the first film lacked. On the down side, however, the opening scene ends in a laughably over-the-top manner - not a good omen for a serious horror movie. The director makes the same mistake at the very end, as well.
The setup for Wrong Turn 2 really involves no wrong turn at all (OK, maybe one at the very start). We're back in the state of West Virginia, but this time it's the setting of a post-apocalyptic reality game show called Apocalypse, hosted by tough ex-soldier (not to be confused with former Major Leagues MVP) Dale Murphy (Henry Rollins). I won't go over the rules of the game, but the gist is to survive over the course of five whole days in a world full of rigged post-apocalyptic dangers. Whoever scouted the area somehow missed the family of local degenerate cannibals that call the place home - but it doesn't take long for both contestants and crew to meet up with them. The six contestants are an interesting mix. You have an African-American former football player and all-around good guy (Texas Battle) that I dubbed "Tiger Woods;" a wise guy who can't stop hitting on the female contestants (Steve Braun); a tough, gung-ho female veteran of the war in Iraq (Daniella Alonso), some nice female eye candy (Crystal Lowe), a pretty girl whose troubled past has made her a survivor (Erica Leerhsen), and a producer turned contestant (Aleksa Palladino) who has to replace a reality show B-celebrity (Kimberly Caldwell) who never shows up (for a very good reason).
I don't have any real complaints about the special effects brought to bear here - there's one explosive death that's truly impressive, and the whole film is pretty much blood-stained. The hillbillies, of course, all look as ugly as homemade sin. The film doesn't boast a lot of character development, but it does give us a rare treat in the form of potential victims who all try to escape rather than stupidly walking into their own gruesome deaths. Notice I said "try to escape." I should also mention that there is one scene that is potentially controversial - and it has nothing to do with blood and gore. It definitely stands out in my mind, and you can't help but wonder why it was included in the movie. I don't know if the filmmakers were making a statement, or if they were just trying to generate a little more word of mouth publicity over the proverbial water coolers across the land.
All in all, Wrong Turn 2 is a decent little horror film, but one can only hope that this is the end of the line for the Wrong Turn franchise. Neither of the first two films is good enough to merit a third installment.