October 1, 2021

A reboot gone wrong

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Tinashe Kusema

On any other day, I would start my review with some snarky comment mostly meant to generate interest or evoke a reaction from the reader.

It’s my signature move, and more often than not said comment is usually connected to the subject film.

However, today is not that day.

I am going to keep this short and sweet.

Admittedly, this review is coming a couple of months too late, but I felt prudent to shed some light on Hollywood’s obsession with unnecessary reboots (soft or otherwise) and these sequels that come many years too late.

The more recent “Wrong Turn” reboot, simply titled “Wrong Turn”, is a disaster, and, simply put, comes close to being a mockery of a once-beloved movie franchise.

The film opens with Scott Shaw (Matthew Modine), a distraught father who travels to a small town in rural Virginia to search for his daughter, who has been missing after visiting the area with her friends.

Through a flashback, we are then shown six weeks earlier as the daughter in question Jen (Charlotte Vega) Shaw and her friends Darius (Adain Bradley), Adam (Dylan McTee), Milla (Emma Dumont), Gary (Vardaan Arora) and Luis (Adrian Favel) arrive in the same town.

The plan is to hike the Appalachian trail, but they veer off route only to find an old forte.

It is here that strange-looking creatures and traps start killing them one by one, with the remaining few being held captive and enslaved by a group of settlers known as The Foundation.

Scott Shaw follows the trail his daughter and her friends took in hopes of finding her alive and rescuing her.

As someone who grew on the franchise and was in awe of the gruesome deaths, improvised traps, and the whole cannibalism angle, this film falls short on so many aspects.

In fact, I found the whole experience of sitting through the film’s 109-minute runtime to be rather cumbersome.

The plot had so much potential with writers Alan B McElroy going for a cultist community rather than the cannibals of the actual franchise.

However, there is no performance that stands out.

The lack of character development on most characters, especially Jen’s father Scott, was a mistake.

The fact that the film spent so much time in explain this rural settlement, full of people disillusioned by the direction their country is going, rather than giving insights into some of the key characters in the settlement was a mistake on the filmmakers’ part.

The film’s only saving grace is the direction of Mike P Nelson.

The action sequences and death traps are vintage “Wrong Turn” material, albeit without cannibalism, with notable scenes being Milla being impaled by stakes and the duo of Darius and Luis having the eyes gouged out.

Nelson goes all-out in the painting a rustic settlement with Ohio and its mountains forming the ideal scenery for shooting.

The biggest disappointments are without a doubt Charlotte Vega’s Jen Shaw and Bill Sage’s Venable, aptly painted as the protagonist and antagonist of the film respectively.

Vega‘s stiff performance does no favours to this poorly written and totally unlikeable character, that possesses no charm whatsoever.

Sage is mostly a victim of a lack of character development.

As the leader of the settlement, Sage’s Venable seems only in the film to give some exposition into the historical background of the settlement and spend the rest of the movie chasing the film’s antagonist.

Since its release back in January, the film’s US$4.5 million box office returns seem like a fair reflection of this terrible, terrible film.

One only hopes that upcoming reboots “The Matrix 4”, “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Sherlock Holmes 3”, “The King’s Man” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” fare much better.

My fear is that too much time has passed for the Matrix and Top Gun films, with their leads Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise now associated with other more recent and successful movie franchises in “John Wick” and “Mission Impossible”

The film that could have used a bit more time is the Ghostbusters reboot.

For many, the franchise is still reeling from the flop that was the all-female-led 2016 entry (Ghostbusters).

At least give the viewers a little more time to get that bad taste out of their mouths.

Sherlock Holmes 3 looks to be in safe hands, and having someone like Robert Downey Jnr as lead does that.

His character death (Tony Stark/Ironman) and departure from the Marvel Cinematic have many clamouring for his next project.

Downey Jn has already hit rock bottom, and can’t possibly do any worse than last year’s “Dr. Dolittle”.

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