This time it’s a quad of whitewater rafters looking for some high adrenalin action. It doesn’t take long before they’re introduced to our favorite clan of cannibals and their arrows. This one doesn’t waste any time with a setup. You know what that title represents, and the filmmakers decide to give you what you want with no delay. Okay. Actually the raft trip IS the setup here. As the rafters escape into the woods, we just know they’re going to run into those snares and traps. And there you won’t be disappointed. This time a guy gets sectioned into three parts. As Kimberly Caldwell was beside herself in two sections for the second film, I can’t wait to see the setup by the time they get to entries 7 or 8.
The real meat, pun intended, of the film begins in a West Virginia prison compound. There’s about to be a high profile prisoner transferred to another facility. Because they fear his “boys” on the outside, they decide to do the transfer a week early with a U.S. Marshall undercover as one of the moved prisoners. You and I already knew that it’s not the mob guys they needed to concern themselves with. It’s no big spoiler to reveal that the bus doesn’t make it to the next stop. The Clan crashes the bus, and before you can say Deliverance, it’s the cons versus the cannibals with a couple of the good guys in the middle. Sounds like a perfect Wrong Turn sandwich, doesn’t it?
The characters are all stock cliché, but the cast does a much better than average job of bringing them to life this time. The film diverges from the previous two, as much of the conflict comes from the dynamics between the cons. As they make their way across the West Virginia wilderness running from the Clan, they take enough time to drag bags of found cash around. The characters are so stupid and greedy that you’ll be rooting for them to die in this one.
I have two major complaints with this film. The first is the gore effects. It’s obvious the filmmakers opted more for CGI stuff than the usual practical stuff. That’s not to say there isn’t any of that to be found, but too much is very fake looking computer stuff. It reminds me of a violent video game. The second complaint is a tacked on ending that completely ruins the established characterizations. What in the heck were they thinking here? What could have been a much better film with a clever enough setup gets brought down a couple of pegs unnecessarily by these two filmmaking decisions.
You have to ask yourself the question. Is there any life … or death, left in the Wrong Turn franchise? I’d have to say that as long as they keep the budget low and stick to the video niche there might indeed be some promise for the films. They would make a fine perennial Halloween distraction. There’s been a lot of effort to keep changing up the formula without messing with the … guts of the franchise. As long as these elements remain intact, I see some future for the Clan.
Wrong Turn 3 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/Mpeg-4 codec. Like the last film the mostly dark image is a pretty big step up from the high definition release of both of the other films. I’m impressed by the black levels 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. There are some daylight shots that are pretty sharp with impressive color. Of course, that’s not what you came here for.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track works for those scare moments. There are some rather effective ambient sounds and effects that work well in this sequel. Of course, there’s the squishy sounds that help sell the gore. Dialog is mostly fine, but there were moments I had to backtrack to catch something.
Wrong Turn 3 in 3 Fingers … I Mean Parts: (18:08) There are three sections to this typical making-of feature. You can play them together with the play all or select them at will. The parts are: Action, Gore, Chaos; Brothers In Blood; Three Fingers Fight Night.
Deleted Scenes: (1:22) Nothing much of interest to add here.
It’s a promising twist on an average franchise. There might be more character development here than usual, but the level of acting doesn’t quite make the payoff the script works for here. It’s a good with the bad scenario. There were also too many continuity errors, so if you’re one of those nitpickers, you’re gonna be complaining a lot. Why does a West Virginia Penitentiary bus have Connecticut plates? Also, how does a bus explode and end up completely intact later on in the film? You could hassle over such careless oversights. “I think I’ll let it slide.”