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Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

“Wrong Turn 4” (a prequel this time) delivers absolutely no surprises whatsoever, and is mostly an exercise in which the filmmakers seem to be saying, “Hey, watch how we kill THIS uninteresting character.” I think that as sort-of a compliment, because in the gore department, this one delivers. Just don’t expect much in the way of originality or suspense.

It helps if you’re already a fan of the series (why else would you be reading?). Personally, I never cared for the first film, but was pleasantly surprised by “Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.” That one put a fun spin on the premise, featured a few spectacular death scenes and a terrific scenery-chewing performance by none-other than Henry Rollins. Admittedly, I never watched the third one, but do not feel my life is incomplete because of that.

And prior viewing isn’t really a prerequisite for “Wrong Turn 4,” which is yet-another ‘origin’ story. That’s usually a sign a franchise is out of ideas, and horror prequels are seldom very effective from a narrative standpoint, since the outcome is always a forgone conclusion. “Wrong Turn 4” is no exception. We already know these inbred hillbillies will live to kill again. This film offers a slightly different (though not very original) setting, a abandoned hospital. But other than that, it’s business as usual. The performances are adequate, but the only concern we have for the dumb college kids to wander into this hospital is how (not if) they meet their demise.

If carnage is what the viewer wants, mission accomplished. The death scenes are well-executed and extremely graphic. At the very least, the filmmakers (the FX artists in particular) earned their paychecks. And admittedly, for a film that has no real reason to exist (was anyone REALLY pining for a “Wrong Turn” origins story?), it’s reasonably fast-paced and seldom boring.

I think this series has run its course, but that probably won’t stop the inevitable “Wrong Turn 5” from oozing onto video shelves in a year or two. For that, I humbly suggest they launch these hillbillies into space. Hey, it worked for Jason Voorhees.

Blu-ray and DVD Extras:
* Fox trailers.
* 14 deleted scenes.
* “Wrong Turn 4” music video with The Blackout City Kids.
*”Director’s Die-Ary’s”- Nearly 8 minutes of director Declan O’Brien’s video diaries. He mainly just takes footage on set and interviews various cast and crew members.
* “Lifestyles Of The Sick And Infamous”- A featurette about the Brandon Mental Health Centre (where “Wrong Turn 4” was shot).
* “Making Another Wrong Turn”- Discussions about the origin of the 3 brothers, the script, the F/X, shooting in cold weather, etc.
* Commentary by director Declan O’Brien and producer Brett Levinson. Lots of chatter about directing, shooting locations, set stories, etc. Worth a listen if you dig the film.

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November 5, 2011 Posted by | Blu-Ray review, DVD review | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House by the Cemetery – Special Edition

Let’s face it…unless your last name is Bava or Argento, as an Italian horror director, you suck.

Yeah, I know a lot of people throw Lucio Fulci’s name in there with the greats. But really, aside from some classic gore scenes in his best-known films (probably “Zombie” and “The Beyond”) can anyone really argue with a straight face that he possessed any distinctive talent as a director? No, Fulci is a cult-legend because of his audacity, not his ability. He simply had the balls not to turn the camera away during scenes of eyeball-puncturing, organ vomiting or skull drilling.

As a storyteller, he sucked. His only true gift was creating unusual and grisly ways for people to die. That’s not always a bad thing, but once you run out of those ideas, you still have to tell a story. Which is why “The House by the Cemetery” is a depressing and colossal bore. Coherent narrative was never Fulci’s strong point (what he has, in the past, euphemistically described as surrealism), and despite some savage scenes of carnage in this film, not only are they nothing the seasoned horror fan hasn’t seen before, they are few and far between. Fulci inserts a few half-assed gore set-pieces into a flimsy ghost story with irritating characters we don’t give a damn about (the most obnoxious being a child character whose voice is laughably dubbed by an obviously-adult voice actor).

Still, a lot of horror fans love the guy (though they should probably direct that love more towards Fulci’s special effects teams). This disc is probably one completists will want in their collection, since it includes a lot of extras the original Anchor Bay DVD did not). But even fans are likely to admit “The House by the Cemetery” does not rank among Fulci’s most audacious efforts. If you really want the definitive Fulci film, pick up “Zombie” or try to find the Grindhouse release of “The Beyond.”

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment