Pity the 21st Century equivalent version of a remake: Quite often as of late the word “remake” is just a polite and jargonish way of saying to the movie-going populace that, after a popular first film and an endless cycle of sequels – each a little worse than the one before it – a studio opted to reset their former Cash Cow with tropes that will hopefully make it more relevant to the world we live in now. Nine times out of ten this seeming reinvention of the proverbial wheel only serves to alienate the fans of the first film and its sequels while completely failing to find its mark for a new audience. So basically we’re talking cold leftovers repackaged and sold to the masses as something new and fresh, without any of the charms and fine qualities inherent in the original outing that, ironically, made said subpar remake even possible. Oh sure, there are always exceptions to this. Martin Scorsese’s retooling of Infernal Affairs into The Departed worked like gangbusters and you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing or the John Sturges 1960 film The Magnificent Seven which itself is a take on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. But for those two or three remakes that got it right, there’s a veritable graveyard populated by the likes of 2012’s Total Recall or Paul Feig’s ill-advised Ghostbusters revamp. As a great man once said, “You pays your money and you takes your chances…”
Director Rob Schmidt didn’t exactly set the world of horror on its ear with his 2003 film Wrong Turn, but it had enough curbside appeal that this reviewer at least bought into it; it had a script that drew on a long celluloid lineage of travelers in peril such as Deliverance, Duel, Joyride and Race with the Devil and it featured strong directing chops and even better acting by the likes of Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto. Somewhere along the way however, that strong kernel of an idea that properly suited a one on-one off film developed into six sequels, each one a little less scary and more diluted than the one before it. And thus it was deemed from Up on High that a full-fledged reboot was in order. Will it work? Will it return the Wrong Turn franchise to properly paved roads with boffo box-office as its reward? Will I ever find out how many licks it takes to actually get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll Pop? Well, who knows, but here are all of the gory details…
Saban Films has acquired the Wrong Turn reboot for North American release, per our heinously awesome chums over at Bloody Disgusting. Directed by Mike P. Nelson, this latest take on a bad road trip had originally gone under the working title Wrong Turn: The Foundation. That has been altered to simply Wrong Turn (good decision) and it boasts a solid cast made up of Matthew Modine, Daisy Head, Charlotte Vega and Emma Dumont with writing credited to Alan McElroy. This last name is critical because McElroy was the writer of the original Wrong Turn, providing some hope that this is something other than just another retread.
This new story sounds potentially eerie enough, if not a little familiar: A group of hikers trekking along the Appalachian Trail stumble upon a community right out of 2019’s Midsommar. This community has lived in the dense forested area since before the Civil War and they’re apparently none too fond of lost hikers. Just sayin.’
“Wrong Turn is a much-anticipated reboot that will not disappoint,” proclaimed Saban’s Bill Bromiley to intrepid Variety reporters. Here’s hoping you’re right on that point, Bill. In the meantime, I’m going to bust out my dog-eared DVD copy of the original Wrong Turn and hold my breath, hoping and waiting. That’s really all you can do when it comes to anything these days, especially with remakes.