I used to disdain Wrong Turn as a hollow derivative of The Hills Have Eyes and for some time actually preferred the sequel, until checking it out again recently and rather changing my tune. It is still derivative of The Hills Have Eyes to an extent, Wrong Turn being among the earliest of the newer rash of inbred cannibal against resourceful prey films and The Hills Have Eyes being if not the earliest then certainly the first definitive entry in the genre. But the two differ crucially, the earlier film comes from a critical eye, a director who has watched society and sentenced it, while Wrong Turn is simply a fun horror film. And its a whole lot of fun, with some rather wonderful traits that do not seem to often appear among later films in the genre or even mainstream horror in general. The key to it all comes in the very first scene as scaling a rock face becomes a terse nightmare for a couple of cannon fodder youths. The girl falls enough to incur broken ribs and likely unconsciousness, maybe even broken legs and back but still manages to get up and keep moving. The entertaining fusion of tension and silliness seen here informs the rest of the film and it really works, especially since things never aim for truly gruelling nastiness, just engagement and fear. Thus the car crash that brings the protagonists together yields less angry recrimination than instead cooperation and good vibes and in the films barmiest moment characters perform feats similar to that which nearly killed Jackie Chan on Armour of God, one of them even with a gunshot wound to the leg. And the inbred villains of the piece can wield a bow and arrow like Robin Hood, as well as climbing trees like the most fearless of gymnasts. Its all thoroughly silly but great fun at the same time, and it never really jars with the more frightening moments (there's one real winner of a suspense sequence here), unlike say The Hills Have Eyes '06 with its ill fitted marriage of brutality and cheesy action. The gore here is almost well judged as the silliness, there isn't a whole lot of grue but whats there is mostly short, sharp and effectively savage without any appearance of trying to make the audience sick with realism. A smidgen more would definitely have been beneficial though, particularly when the villains are buying the farm. Acting is generally reasonable, a stone faced Desmond Harrington bears little charisma, but Emmanuelle Chriqui emotes to good effect, Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth make for amusing stoners and in the best written part Jeremy Sisto has chilled out but ultimately heroic ball. And Eliza Dushku delivers mondo hotness which is a big plus. The handiest thing about the characters though is that they are all written sympathetic rather than obnoxious and self absorbed or resolutely vapid, there's a sense that the writer cares about them rather than just treating them as cannon fodder and it makes for a much more involving experience. I'm not sure I have any serious complaints about the whole film actually, it really rubbed me the right way. Actually I have one, it needed nudity. In a fun trashy horror film, nudity is virtually an essential and there ain't none here. Still righteous stuff though, strong 7/10 from me.