“It’s the end of the world. Society is in chaos. Government’s no longer in control. The world has been devastated by a catastrophic disaster, but you’re still alive. Overnight, you’ve been thrown back into the Stone Age. Modern conveniences are a thing of the past. Would you have the guts to survive? Welcome to the Apocalypse. Over the next 5 days contestants will be put to the ultimate test. These 6 contestants have been thrown together in a devastated wasteland with only the clothes on their backs and the will to survive. Rain or shine, in 5 days only one will be alive.”
At least they got the last part right. That’s the premise of the new reality show Ultimate Survivalist. Reality star Kimberly Caldwell is racing to join the cast of the new pilot. She’s complaining to her agent on the cell phone that she’d rather have some better parts. She should know better than to talk and drive. She runs over a pedestrian. As she stops to check on the unfortunate soul, she soon discovers this is no ordinary pedestrian. He’s one of that lovable cannibal clan from the first Wrong Turn film. Before long Kimberly gets her wish. She ends up in two parts, literally. Make that 5 contestants.
Back at the pilot shoot the cast and crew have waited long enough for the tardy Kimberly, who is simply beside herself these days. That means producer Mara (Palladino) gets talked into filling in by her executive producer boyfriend Michael (Holmes), eh, make that M. The woods and the contestants are all rigged for sight and sound so that all of their trials and tribulations can be recorded for the pilot show. The teams get their first survival challenges and head into the woods to play the game. The winner will pocket a cool $100,000. But these woods are tricked out in more than the show’s fictional adventures. The cannibals have a game of their own, and it’s called “guess who’s coming as dinner”. As the cast and crew head off into the backwoods, let the slicin’ and dicin’ begin.
It’s a clever enough take on the old theme, and I kind of like the Survivor game aspect of this low budget sequel. It beats the tired old lost or stranded in the woods theme that has gotten so old it has recently applied for Social Security benefits. If it can’t qualify on age, there’s certainly the disability route. It just stopped working years ago. The added element of the show’s imbedded cameras gives us some unique views to the kills. Don’t expect much from the cast, but it is at least a step higher than these shows tend to be. In fact, a couple of the girls rise above the usual bimbo factor and put in some solid performances, and they keep their clothes on. Why is it the worst actress on the film is always the first to flash the boobs? Erica Leerhsen does a pretty solid job as Nina, and Aleksa Palladino puts in an underused good turn as Mara. Henry Rollins gets the most laughs and the William Shatner Award for best overacting as the drill sergeant host of the show. Dude, I hope you were playing it for laughs. Of course, the stars are the mutants. There are more of them this time and in both sexes. One of the more amusing scenes finds one of the mutants observing the obligatory nude starlet sunning herself when all of a sudden a female mutant starts smackin’ him upside the head. Of course, she then feels bad for hurting her man and takes her anger out where it belongs, on the bimbo on the beach.
This is a direct to video sequel. While the first film is actually pretty well known, it did not really do anything at the box office. It scored only a little more than $15 million on a $12 million budget. Obviously this one had maybe half that money to spend; likely even less. It was a surprising film to spawn a running franchise. But now with three in the can, I suspect another one might get squeezed out before these cannibals finally lick their last bone.
Wrong Turn 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/Mpeg-4 codec. The mostly dark image is a pretty big step up from the high definition release of the original film. It’s also quite a bit better than the DVD, which is to be expected. I’m impressed by the black levels here. You really get a very clean level of detail out of these dark scenes. I could make out quite a few elements in even the blackest of conditions. There’s no compression worries here. Any digital noise appears to be minimal and is more evident in some over bright vista shots. Look for satisfactory sharpness and detail all around.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works for those scare moments. There are some rather effective ambient sounds and effects that work well in this sequel. It feels more open than these things often do. You really get the vast wilderness experience. That doesn’t mean the sound can’t pull in nice and tight when those claustrophobic moments arrive. The squishes and sloshes of folks getting cut up are realistic enough to make you a little queasy.
All of the features are in Standard Definition.
More Blood, More Cuts – The Making Of Wrong Turn 2: (9:32) Cast and crew offer up a lot of “This is a messed up film” type of comments. A lot more hype than information. At least they’re all having a good enough time that the piece is entertaining. They also each tell us what it is that scares them.
On Location With P-Nut: (2:14) Really diary footage of the “Stump Hump” scene.
Making Gore Look Good: (11:32) This feature really covers both gore f/x and stunts. It’s a typical “How’d they do that piece”. The scene where Kimberly is split gets a lot of time here. It’s very cool effect, but the actress appears to be as annoying in person as her character, which was actually intended to be herself.
As direct to video sequels go, you could do a lot worse. This one has enough stock characters for cannibal fodder that the action pretty much never slows down. It’s all about the body count here. The Survivor reality show theme is a pretty clever one. While there is little real connection to the original film, it’s certainly worth the visit. What else do you need if you’ve got “Three Toe” and his kin for some home cooked goodness? “Man, these hillbillies sure know how to barbeque.”