Wrong Turn is 2021 horror-thriller releases worldwide with the title “Wrong Turn: The Foundation”. The film is directed by Mike P. Nelson with a screenplay from Alan McElroy. It is the seventh installment of the Wrong Turn franchise. The film’s cast includes Charlotte Vega, Adain Bradley, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Daisy Head, Bill Sage, and Matthew Modine. The film is internationally co-produced between United States, Canada, and Germany.
Wrong Turn was released in theatres on January 26, 2021, for only one day, amidst the pandemic. The seventh installment in the long-running gore-infested franchise, it is being regarded as an improvement over its predecessors. The film has garnered generally positive and mixed reviews from critics and fans. The film is about a group of young hiker friends who stray off the path during an Appalachian trail. The film tells the story of their encounter with a long residing cult civilization in the forest.
The film starts with a group of hip and young hikers – Jen, Darius, Milla, Adam, Luis, and Gary. The group travels to a small Virginian town before embarking on a hiking trail on the Appalachian mountains. There, they get warned off by several locals, who caution them against going into the mountains. Before the hiking begins, Jen has a brief encounter with a woman named Edith and a young girl Ruthie. The group starts off their hike on foot and spends several hours before they face an unprecedented tragedy. One of the group members, Gary gets killed by a rolling tree trunk by getting crushed under it. The group decides to set up a camp for the night, disquieted and traumatized by the events.
On the next morning, the group of remaining friends discovers that Milla and all of their cellphones are missing. That is when they come across a 19th-century plaque. The plaque is about the commemoration of the creation of a group of settlers called the “Foundation”.
The group starts looking for Milla when Adam gets caught in a trap. After a while, the hikers see Adam being carried away by strange men who are wearing animal skull masks. The group confronts the men and Adam manages to escape. Before fleeing away, Adam kills one of the men by crushing his skull with a club. Shortly thereafter, Milla turns up and explains to the group that she had hidden after seeing the men earlier. The group tries to escape but soon gets ensnared by more mask-donning men. Milla gets killed by an arrow, courtesy of one of the masked men, but not before falling into a pit and getting impaled by pointy tree branches. Meanwhile, the rest of the hiking group gets captured by the men.
The group of hikers is then carried to the settlement, deep inside the woods. The group is produced before a kangaroo court and charged for the murder of one of the mask-wearing men. Jen re-encounters Edith and Ruthie and recognizes them from earlier. Cullen is the leader of the Foundation, who rules Adam guilty of murder and sentenced him to death. He then sentences Jen, Darius, and Luis to “Darkness” for the charges of lying. Cullen carries out barbaric punishments, beating Adam to his death with the same club he used to kill the masked man. He then burns Luis’ eyes, blinding her. Jen begs Cullen to have her and Darius exempted from punishment, saying that they will be of service to them. Cullen accepts the mercy plea and welcomes Jen and Darius into the Foundation. Thereafter, Jen is carried to a hut and coerced to have sex with Cullen.
Several weeks pass and Jen’s father Scott reaches the nearby town in search of her. Scott hires a local tracker to guide him through the woods. But the tracker is soon killed by one of the traps. Scott manages to find the settlement but is ambushed by the men. Jen, who appears to be brainwashed by the Foundation, shoots Scott with an arrow. Scott is sentenced to “Darkness” by Cullen in the court, on the charges of trespassing. Later, Jen manages to sneak out with her father. She explains to him that she only shot him to douse any kind of suspicion against her. While the father and daughter duo escapes, they meet Darius, who refuses to flee with them. Jen and Scott escape with the help of Ruthie but are soon pursued by Cullen and his men. However, this time they get recused by armed men from the town.
Many months pass, and Jen and her father have resumed their normal lives. One day, Jen goes to meet her mother at her home but discovers that she is welcoming Cullen and Ruthie into the neighborhood. Confronting Jen, Cullen finds out that she is several months pregnant with his child. Cullen requests Jen to return with him to the Foundation. Jen agrees, reluctantly. She agrees to go back with Cullen but on the condition that he never muddles with her family’s lives. Jen sets off to the Foundation with Cullen and Ruthie in an RV. The film ends with the RV getting out of control and crashing. Cullen flees away but is stabbed by Jen, who then takes Ruthie’s hands and walks back to her family.
Also Read: Wrong Turn 2021 Ready To Hit Screens
An Improvement Upon Its Predecessors
Compared to the previous six installments in the franchise, this one seems to be a great improvement. Wrong Turn (2021) does away with the trademark inbred-cannibal-kill-unsuspecting-trespassers storyline followed by the six films before it. Those movies did not have much going on for them other than the expected gore-fest routine. The film presents a slightly more substantial, albeit underdeveloped narrative. There are a more coherent story and some characters that are underdeveloped but not unbearable like in the previous films. The characters go through similar storylines, make similarly bad decisions, and meet familiar gruesome deaths. Yet, the film strays away from being essentially a repackaged version of the first film in the series.
The story tries to work with some political themes between the hip socialist hikers and the 19th-century southerner cult. But it does not live up to the intellectual ambitions the story has set for itself. The Foundation seems to be a confusing amalgamation of Darius’ socialist utopia and the conservative dogma. The message it seems to convey is far from fully-baked or fleshed out. But one does not go into a Wrong Turn movie expecting intellectual political commentary. One does not usually go into a Wrong Turn movie at all, besides the expected gore.
The Things Wrong Turn (2021) Gets Right
The film provides some depth to its characters, a thing missing from all that came before in the series. You root for the characters, instead of absently going through the motions of gore-filled deaths one after another. The character dynamics are way better here, so are the creative and thrilling killing traps. One of the important characters in the film is that of Jen’s father, Scott. He provides an emotional investment for the viewer and holds the movie together. His search for her daughter gives the audience something to care for and root for. That only makes the deaths all the more gruesome and painful. The stakes in this film feel higher because it has that emotional context. The characters not being a blank slate and existing for the sole purpose of getting killed certainly helps.
There is dread but also optimism amidst conflicts. Although the film has its fair share of logical inconsistencies and plot-holes, it is nowhere as bad as its predecessors. With the silliness of previous films, this one is also filled with ultra-violent gore and deaths. The acting is also grounded and believable, unlike the over-the-top performances dotting the rest of the franchise. In terms of antagonism, the Foundation in this movie certainly helps provide more depth to the plot. But unlike the cannibal trio of previous films, it fails to be as iconic as them. Budget-wise, it is competent and the cinematography is also worth mentioning. The costumes of the Foundation’s men are believable and creepy. Trying to do new things, and deeper in its plot, the film could do way better with a shorter runtime. Overall, being a refreshing installment, Wrong Turn is an improvement upon its predecessors.