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November 8, 2009

“Wrong Trun” and “Stay Alive” – Double Horror Movie Review

In theory, today was supposed to be spent working on my final essays for school. In reality, however, I have spent it watching two movies I got from the Swap Shop: Wrong Turn and Stay Alive. I’m calling today’s movie-watching a draw, since Wrong Turn was great and Stay Alive was brutal; let’s take a look at both of them.

Wrong Turn (2003) stars Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dusku, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto, as a bunch of twenty-somethings who get lost in the wilds of the Appalacian Mountains in West Virginia.  Desmond Harrington is travelling alone when he is forced to detour and ends up lost. Not paying attention to the road ahead of him, he rear-ends a car carrying Dusku, Chriqui, Sisto, and two other of their friends. As they separate into two groups (one to find help, the other to stay back with the cars), people start to go missing; the two friends are first. The suriving members of the group realize what is happening, which is when the race to live really begins.

Wrong Turn was a pleasant surprise for me; after all, how many “lost in the woods” horror movies can you make before it gets old? I’m reminded of other films of this nature, like House of Wax or The Blair Witch Project. However, Wrong Turn has enough unique elements in the story to make for a good film; and hey, who doesn’t love a forest full of your stereotypical, inbred, mutated, hillibillies-turn-psycho-murderers? Sign me up! I haven’t seen the sequal yet, but I’m hoping it will be spared the usual TSS (Terrible Sequal Syndrome).

Conversely, Stay Alive (2006) was a horrible, pathetic, utterly stupid film that made me more irritated than anything else. Most awful horror movies at least excel at being entertaining; they fall into the “so bad it’s great” category. (See: Leprechaun 2: Back 2 Da Hood) Stay Alive, wasn’t written well enough to fall into this category. The premise was somewhat interesting: Once you start playing the video game, if you die in the game, you die in real life! Starring Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong, Frankie Muniz, Jimmi Simpson, Sophia Bush, and a brief scene with Milo Ventimiglia (think Drew Barrymore in Scream, except not good), this film went from bad to worse from the first scene.

I was extremely disappointed, especially because (being a huge OC fan) this film had Samaire Armstrong and as a One Tree Hill fan, it also had Sophia Bush – I was ready for something good! However, I was completely bored, and extremely disappointed. The “myth” behind the haunted game was supposed to related to the legend of The Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory. (Check crimelibrary.com for the interesting article!) However, the “myth” is barely explained, and rather being used to inspire a great, creepy story rife with historial eeriness, it was twisted and turned into something it was never meant to be, and the film just eventually collapsed on itself. Another case of a film failing to live up to its original potential. At least it was a trade-in a the Swap Shop, so I’m not really out anything.

Two films, two opportunities for awesomeness or awfulness; I suppose one of each isn’t so bad for a dreary afternoon. The third movie I got from the Swap Shop was The Strangers, which I haven’t watched yet – I’ll keep you posted.

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