Horror movies typically don’t quite do it for me. Their plots are contrived and predictable, the acting poor, and any deeper message often subsumed by pointless gore. At best, the ones mixing in humor are a bit more enjoyable because they refuse to take things so seriously.
But there is the rare exception. Last weekend I had a chance to view Wrong Turn, a re-imagining of the classic franchise which drew West Virginia’s ire for its portrayal of country people as inbred, violent cannibals. That earlier series is immensely bloody and pretty boring, even if the scenery looks nice enough. In the case of the newest Wrong Turn, we get a far more thoughtful and less gruesome commentary on the naïve stupidity of leftist young people, perhaps well-suited for the age of mass immigration and pandemics.
The story begins with a group of cosmopolitan creatures pulling into a rural town where they plan to spend the night before exploring the Appalachian Trail. We have the predictable array of offerings: the blonde Stacy with her diversity boyfriend, a progressive white guy who insults the country folk, his nerdy liberal companion, and both a Hispanic and Indian bringing up the rear – the two naturally being in a gay relationship. During the prelude to their hotel sex scene, Stacy’s boyfriend confesses that he works for a non-profit instead of Wall Street because he wants to be valued for what he can offer, not money or his race. This admission is important, because it foreshadows what will happen to them.
In the morning the motley crew sets off down the trail, but diversity guy wants to leave the beaten path, something the townsfolk warned against. One thing leads to another and a massive log rolls downhill, creating a threesome with the Indian character and another trunk. Many f-bombs follow as they debate abandoning the vacation and returning home. Eventually the group gets lost and decides to bed down for the night, a classic movie mistake.
From that junction, the film proceeds through a collection of crises as characters fall into pits, get struck by booby traps, and are eventually captured by the Foundation, a group formed in 1859 to outlive the disaster of the coming civil war. Although the liberal detainees assume they have been taken by xenophobic rednecks, the mountain settlement is actually run by a non-racist mixture of whites and blacks who practice a form of anarcho-primitivism or communism, where everyone must contribute to the common cause without distractions of property, greed, or racial hatred.
Although it seems fantastic, the Foundation proceeds to execute progressive whitey for savagely killing one of their kind, and gouges out the eyes of the Hispanic guy. The only thing that saves Stacy and her boyfriend is their willingness to join the communal system. She offers her body to the tribal leader by appealing to her good genes for his future offspring, while her (now former) beau embraces becoming a warrior because there is no racism on the mountain. Ultimately, Stacy is forced to team up with her father, a very old Matthew Modine, to escape from the mountain stronghold. Her only means of being successful is to transform into a sadistic and violent killer who slaughters Foundations members with a large combat knife.
There is a wonderful subversive comedy in the film targeted at leftists. The boyfriend joins an isolationist cult to become more accepted, even with the progressivism of the mainstream world. His white friend treats the mountain people as subhuman, and murders one who was actually helping him get treated for injuries. Rural Trump supporters try to help the liberals survive, and end up getting killed by the mountain people. An empowered feminist has nothing to give except her womb as an exchange for her life. Every mainstream assumption of our universe is brutally smashed in a short spell of hours.
It makes you wonder what would happen if indeed the apocalyptic predictions play out. Will our liberal friends swiftly adapt and become like Stacy, or get extinguished like a match under the hailstorm? What shall they do without civil society and Twitter?
Hopefully we never have to learn the answer.