Thoughts on “Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings”

This movie is a prequel that we didn’t really need. It also ends up not really being a prequel, mostly because it hints at a mystery about their origins that it never pays off.

The movie starts with the cannibals from the previous movies in an asylum, where they break free, release the other inmates, and engage in horrific acts, particularly against one doctor. The movie then fast forwards to 20+ years later where a bunch of people get completely and totally lost and end up finding the asylum again, where the three happen to be living, which then spawns another murder spree.

The first problem with this movie is that while we did know at the beginning that the female doctor — who seemed interested in helping them, though primarily for her own benefit, it seems — was going to die, the entire real prequel part of the movie happens in the first ten minutes. This eliminates any interesting thing we might learn about their past, psychological conditions, or strange physical abilities that they seemed to have. It also makes the whole original asylum sequence perfunctory and irrelevant. So, as I noted, it’s not really a strong prequel or origin story at all. They pretty much could have excised it completely and went with a standard cannibal slasher movie and nothing would have changed, and we might have even enjoyed it more. All it really does, then, is establish the setting in the asylum and maybe some facts we find later, none of which needed to be set-up for the sort of movie we were watching.

The second problem is that if you actually stop and think about the set-up, it doesn’t make sense. Why was the asylum even still there? How did they escape from the asylum, as surely the authorities would have come to clean things up after the attacks? To quote Shamus Young’s general question, what did they eat? Why was an asylum built so far away from any kind of civilization? How come nobody knew about it? And how stupid were the people to get that lost but also just happen to stumble across it? If they had taken the general idea so common in horror movies that they had headed out there deliberately to explore the cool old asylum, that at least would have made some sense, but they didn’t, so it made little sense.

There’s also, as a minor issue, a set-up of them, after capturing the cannibals, wanting to kill the cannibals that never really pays off, making it seem like an attempt at something deeper that just falls flat.

The worst, though, is the downer ending. Look, lots of horror movies have downer endings, and it actually seems to be the norm these days. And sometimes they really work. But this one fails miserably, for two big reasons:

1) The ending is perfunctory: they set it up so that the two of them will get away and they end up killing themselves on a barbwire fence that they didn’t notice. It’s supposed to be sudden and shocking, but it comes off more as a “Oh, come on!” than anything else. Mostly because it’s so sudden, so we clearly see that they were aiming for that sort of thing, and had to arrange that just to get that moment. If the moment was great, I would forgive it, but it’s not, and so my overall thought is entirely that it exists solely for the purpose of providing that sort of ending, and so can almost imagine the writers patting themselves on the back for the great twist that I found incredibly boring and trite.

2) Worst, it was unnecessary. A lot of prequels will go for those sorts of endings because it results in a foregone conclusion: in order for the “later” movies to happen, the villains have to win in this one, or at least escape. But not only could the original movies have followed from those two escaping in this one, they arguably would have worked better if they had escaped. Obviously, in the previous movies they weren’t anywhere near that asylum. If the two of them had escaped, the cannibals might have realized that they finally had to leave that place that they had been safe and secure for twenty years, leading to them moving to the place where the first movie happened. That’s probably fair here as well — people would have searched for them — but showing the authorities coming back to the asylum, not finding the cannibals, and then showing them on the road nearing a familiar spot from the original movie — the gas station, perhaps? — would have been far more effective than what we got.

So the movie killed off characters that we probably wanted to survive for no good reason, for an ineffective shocking scene that doesn’t properly utilize the prequel ideas. If I had to sum up the movie, this would probably be it.

I can’t imagine watching this movie again.


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