Tag Archives: prequel city

3 is Family


2.5 Stars  2011/18/94m

Director/Writer: Declan O’Brien / Cast: Jenny Pudavick, Tenika Davis, Kaitlyn Wong, Terra Vnesa, Victor Zinck Jr., Dean Armstrong, Ali Tataryn, Samantha Kendrick, Sean Skene, Daniel Skene, Scott Johnson.

Body Count: 14

Dire-logue: “Who are they?” / “The cannibal hillbillies my brother told me about – who else could it be!?”

In some ways, it’s really nice that the Wrong Turn franchise overcame the less-than-stellar box office receipts of the kick-ass original to become a sort of straight-to-DVD Friday the 13th of the noughties. The downside is that said kick-ass material from the 2003 original has eroded over time into the crass sort of cliches that burden too many teen horror flicks.

In fact, referring back to the 5 things I wish they’d stop doing in horror films thingy I wrote a while back, Wrong Turn 4 ticks four of the five boxes:

  • Asshole characters? Yes, even nominal final girl Kenia (!?) is a patronising cow who convinces her friends not to kill the trio of redneck freaks even after half their numbers have met gruesome endings.
  • Token lesbianism? Yes. After the requisite pre-credits shock, four of the nine main characters are introduced by way of orgy; a straight couple doing it in one bed while two buck-naked chicks are slobbering over one another about three feet away. Fuck off.
  • No survivors? WT4 is a prequel so you know there’s going to be a sucky ending for the last few people standing. In fact, it’s funny in a sort of splatstick kinda way.
  • Torture-porn lite? I’d give it half a mark, although those done in slowly and horribly are surprisingly male characters. See below where one schmuck is slowly ripped limb from limb while another is filleted and has said removed skin boiled and eaten by the inbreds.

The beginning takes place in 1974 (what’s up with that year?) where the three brothers are locked up in an institution. They break out, cause major carnage and flee. Twenty-nine years later – so a matter of months before the events of the original film – said asshole college kids on a winter break get lost in a snowstorm and end up taking shelter at the abandoned asylum.

The inbreds seem to still live there, so how and when did they relocate to the shack and gather up all those cars? It should’ve been set in the 90s or something. Missed opportunity.

That said, Bloody Beginnings is better than Wrong Turn 3, following a more common body count opus and the kills are grisly and inventive and don’t rely too much on CGI. The teens’ numbers dwindle until there are just four girls left, who attempt to fight back with mixed results but there are too many characters in the first place, many of whom are indistinguishable from one another.

It’s been said for years that Jason should have a snowbound adventure and it looks like the WT team have beaten him to it for the time being. Maybe in Wrong Turn 5 the hillbillies will take Manhattan?

Blurb-of-interest: O’Brien also directed Wrong Turn 3.

11.11.11 Ashes to ashes


2 Stars 2010/108m

Director/Writer: Stevan Mena / Cast: Michael Biehn, Alexandra Daddario, Brett Rickaby, Nolan Gerard Funk, John Savage, Spencer List, Kathryn Meisle, Peyton List, Valentina De Angelis.

Body Count: 10

Don’t cry for me Stevan Mena, the truth is your prequel’s boring

All through it’s run time, I played Solitaire

I cut my toenails, I trimmed my chest hair…

Internal-Evita aside, Malevolence was one of those weird films, both overrated and underrated at the same time. For a no-budget slasher flick, it wrung loads out of the kind of Asian-influenced photography any big studio horror film would kill for.

As the middle part of a proposed trilogy, six years later came the first bit: Bereavement, which begins with the 1989 abduction of little Martin Bristol, who has a rare condition that means he feels no pain. The local schizo killer takes him from his back yard and spends the next five years trying to teach him to kill young girls.

Meanwhile – in 1994 anyway – recently-orphaned teenager Allison arrives in town to live with Uncle Michael Biehn and his little family. She’s a long distance runner and jogs past the creepy old shut down Sutter abattoir where loon and kid live in harmony, seemingly abducting a new girl every few days without anybody raising an eyebrow.

Allison has adjustment problems, hangs out with the local bad kid, and eventually strays into the old building where she is held captive, escapes, fights the killer and such.

Unlike Malevolence‘s slow-burn homage to the really early days of under-lit slasherdom, Bereavement is more of a character study, setting things up for what will hopefully be a pretty good third entry.

Alas, unlike its predecessor (or whatever we call it considering it came first but follows the story…?), Bereavement is depressing and also kinda dull. For all of Mena’s beautifully orchestrated cinematography of pylons, vast fields and Sutter’s creepy old truck idling along empty roads, there’s long drawn out scenes where little happens (possibly accentuating the lack of life around the small town) or young girls are chained up and knifed to death.

It’s never explained why the police aren’t sniffing around for numerous missing ladies or why the killer only picks them. There’s an unsettling Bundy-esque bleakness to Sutter’s abduction technique (shown only once) and Bereavement only becomes an actual slasher flick towards the end.

And the end is downbeat, drab and a portent of doom. I was happy to see the cute puppy survive but after being impressed by what Mena sculpted out of what little he had in Malevolence, this has an aura of self-indulgence that I hope doesn’t leak into the final film. If it ever gets made.

Blurbs-of-interest: Michael Biehn was in Cherry Falls; Alexandra Daddario was later in Texas Chainsaw 3D; John Savage was in Christina’s House.