The new Wrong Turn reboot takes many wrong turns, using its prolific title as a sign post for what resides ahead. This is not the Wrong Turn you know. And some may say it resembles the iconic horror franchise in name only. Be warned, Director Mike P. Nelson is not interested in giving us bloodthirsty backwoods mutants with a taste for human flesh. His new revisionist take on the material is grounded in pain-soaked reality, creating something unique within the slasher genre. We recently caught up with the filmmaker and members of his cast to discuss this completely stripped-down reimagining of a classic, which has been rebuilt almost entirely from scratch.
Backwoods terror and never-jangling suspense meet when Jen (Charlotte Vega) and a group of friends set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course, and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return, unless Jen’s father (Golden Globe nominee Matthew Modine) can reach them in time.
We caught up with Director Mike P. Nelson for the first of three interviews celebrating the release of Wrong Turn, which is coming to On Demand, Digital, Blu-ray and DVD this week, launching on February 23rd. Though he goes deep into hillbilly cannibal territory, Paulington James Christensen III is careful not to wade too far into spoiler territory. Though they do discuss the ending, which finds Nelson making some pretty bold choices all the way through end credits.
Director Mike P. Nelson made his feature directorial debut with Summer School after crafting several well-received shorts. He would then go onto direct the 2018 action horror thriller The Domestics, before he found himself faced with rebooting the Wrong Turn franchise, which kicked off in 2003 and launched a prolific horror series that includes 5 more sequels. The final installment arrived in 2014 with Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, and seemingly brought the end of three cannibal brothers who have been at the front of this series since the beginning.
You won’t find any hillbilly killers in Mike P. Nelson’s Wrong Turn. But actor Bill Sage makes up for that. He plays John Venable, leader of the Foundation, a group of mountain dwellers living an isolated life deep in the Appalachian forrest. Sage turns in a menacing performance as the main villain, and creates a new kind of horror monster that will send chills down your spine. We caught up with Bill Sage to chat about his imposing role in the movie, and what it’s like to come at an iconic franchise from scratch.
Rounding out our interviews for Wrong Turn, we also spoke with actress Charlotte Vega, who plays Jen in the movie. She is the defacto leader of six friends who, despite various warnings, decide to go hiking off the Appalachian Trail. And what they find is nothing short of devastating and completely life changing. Though, we’re not exactly rooting for Jen or her friends to survive the horrific outcome that befalls their otherwise innocent trip. We discuss that fact, and look deep into the psyche of a tortured soul, wondering just what happened to Jen after end credits roll.
Wrong Turn also stars the ensemble cast of Adain Bradley (Riverdale), Emma Dumont (The Gifted), Dylan McTee (Rosewell, New Mexico) and Matthew Modine (Stranger Things). The film is directed by Mike P. Nelson (The Domestics) from a script written by Alan B. McElroy (Wrong Turn). Mike P. Nelson offers this warning for those who dare take this Wrong Turn.
“We wanted to make a movie that reflects the state of the mind of the world today. I think as people we are all capable of being the most extreme versions of ourselves so when those extremes collide one person’s dream can become another person’s nightmare. We’re telling the story of Jen and her group of friends that are all at critical junctions in their young lives – relationships, careers, looming adulthood are all things at stake for them. For them trekking the Appalachian trail is supposed to give them this clarity for what they should do with their lives….or at least they thought.”
“When we meet Venable and members of The Foundation, it’s important to me that they are not your typical bad guys. They’re not the backwoods hicks. They’re not the white supremacists. This is a community of people who are very intelligent and very proud of their way of life. They will do whatever it takes to defend it. Jen in particular is a character that I think will resonate long after the credits roll — wonderfully flawed, determined character that will do whatever it takes to survive.”
But most importantly we wanted to make a movie that surprises audiences. They think the movie is going one way and we take them down a completely other turn. This is a movie where the audience will think they know who these characters are and we’ll completely flip that prejudice on its head. These characters keep surprising us which makes the movie so special.”
Saban Films will release the new horror film Wrong Turn On Demand, Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on February 23, 2021.