Well, I’ll give Wrong Turn credit where credit is due. It took until the fifth chapter in the series for franchise fatigue to finally find itself setting in. No, none of the earlier films were particularly good, but they weren’t exactly difficult to watch, either. They each had something to bring to the table. But with Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines, that streak has been snapped. There’s nothing to like about it, and if there was ever a point to end a series, this might be it.
Our film takes place during a music festival that takes place in a town that is near where a bunch of inbred cannibals happen to have taken up residence. We’ve seen them before, and while I don’t think they’ve ever been given official names, the credits have named them for us. There’s Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and One Eye. No, I don’t know which is which, but I’m sure fans of the series would be able to point them out to me if I asked. I’m not asking, though, because it ultimately doesn’t matter. There are three cannibals, and they’re going to be unleashed on a town.
Or, more correctly, they’re going to be unleashed on a bunch of college students and the local sheriff (Camilla Arfwedson), who aren’t going to be at the music festival. The kids almost hit a man named Maynard (Doug Bradley), and when they check to see if he’s okay, he slices one of them in the leg. They proceed to kick him about three dozen times, at which point the local law authority comes to lock everyone up. The kids for drugs, the man for assault. One of the kids takes the blame for the rest, so they get to go free.
It’s too bad that Maynard is the one currently in … “command,” I guess, of the inbred cannibals. He tells the kids and the sheriff that they’re going to kill every last one of them and then break him out. So, one by one, the kids die. Usually because they’re stupid and leave the confines of the police station. Seriously, the way this film contrives ways to get them out in the open so they can be picked off. I had to laugh. And then cry, because I was wasting 90 minutes watching this movie.
Like the fourth Wrong Turn, there isn’t any way to differentiate between our protagonists, outside, of course, of the sheriff, who has a police uniform and acts like she’s in control of the situation. The rest are all same-y college students, all of whom will soon be killed, so what’s the point of making them feel like real people? At least, that’s the film’s logic. That means it’s impossible for the audience to become invested in them or care that they might soon die.
The cannibals aren’t scary. They never have been, but it’s even more apparent the more we see them. We got lots of them in the fourth chapter, but I think we see even more of them this time around. They need more mystery, or something. I’m not even sure anymore. Perhaps they’re past the point of having the potential to cause fear in the audience. Maybe we need to breed a new generation of hillbilly cannibals. Perhaps we can make them more intense, more bloodthirsty, and less of a joke. The best these guys get is kind of creepy thanks to the makeup effects.
Maybe — and I’m just thinking out loud here — it’s time to get a new director for the series. Declan O’Brien has handled each entry since the third, and when you work on the same thing for that long, you can get tired of it. They’ve gotten progressively worse, too, so maybe it’s time to give him a break and get a new creative team on the job. After all, his team theoretically used their best ideas the first time out, and now we’re getting the less-inspired ones in the follow-ups.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines is the worst of the Wrong Turn movies, and theoretically the point at which the franchise should end — at least, with this creative team. It’s boring, not scary, stupid, has no characters to root for or even tell apart from each other, and just doesn’t do anything at all for anyone involved. I mean, this is a movie that somehow manages to make Doug Bradley, the man who played Pinhead, boring. That’s almost impressive.