The Wrong Turn franchise is a series of backwood horror films, which started with this 2003 film. It was produced by Stan Winston, and the hillbilly makeup were provided by his team.
A man named Chris and a bunch of other city people get stranded on a stretch of unused road in the middle of the backwoods of West Virginia. As they try to make their way back to civilization, they encounter inbred hillbillies who hunt them for food as they run and fight for their lives.
Rest of the films in the series are:
- Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
- Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)
- Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)
- Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)
- Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014)
It was announced in 2020 that the series was getting a Reboot. The reboot sees the cannibals replaced with a self-sufficient civilization who don't actively seek out victims, but aren't very merciful to those who intrude on their land.
Provides examples of:
- Artistic License Biology: Inbreed long enough and your family will have super powers.
- Black Speech: The hillfolk in the series understand English, but most of them forgo speaking it in favor of a bizarre gibberish.
- Breakout Villain: Three Finger is the only character to appear in all films. In the original, he and his brothers had about the same amount of screentime, and Saw Tooth appeared to be the leader of the group.
- Cannibal Clan: Initially, the Hilliker family started out with 10 members. By the third movie, they are reduced to two (or three). More members are introduced in the prequels.
- Don't Go in the Woods: There be inbred hillbillies who'll torture, kill, and eat you. And not necessarily in that order.
- Evil Laugh: Three Finger has a distinctive cackle that'll alert his victims-to-be about his presence.
- The Family That Slays Together: That's what you get with inbreeding.
- I'm a Humanitarian: In the back-story of the films, all the animals have died due to industrial shenanigans and the villainous family of inbred hillbillies resorted to hunt people for food.
- Intro-Only Point of View: Rich and Haley in the first movie. Kimberly Caldwell in the second. The asylum staff in the 4th. The reporter in the 5th movie. Zigzagged in the 3rd film, where Alex survives and escapes the opening attack, but her friends don't.
- Negative Continuity: Most of the sequels pretty much ignore everything established in the previous movies, most notably in regards to how the antagonists came to be or Three Fingers' multiple deaths.
- Numbered Sequels: Each sequel is numbered, and each have their own subtitle.
- Sequel Escalation: The sequels have more gore, sadism and nudity in them than the original film.
- Tangled Family Tree: With how deeply inbred it is, trying to even explain the Hilliker family tree would give someone a migraine.
- Villain-Based Franchise: By the third movie, series revolved around Three Finger, the remaining cannibal killer. Subsequent prequels brought back his brothers, and the series revolve all three of them.
- Ambiguously Evil: It is implied that the elderly creepy gas station owner may have been involved with the cannibalistic mountain men. This is confirmed in Wrong Turn 2: Dead End.
- Asshole Victim: Francine and Evan are the least likable of the bunch, displaying all the trademarks of traditional horror movie victims: drugs, sex, and just being all around jerks.
- Bare Your Midriff: Carly does this throughout all of her screentime.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: One side of the hillbillies' shack is set on fire when Chris crashes his car through it, and continues to blaze as he fights the villains.
- Bear Trap: Halley steps in one during the opening sequence. Later, while fleeing through the woods, Chris spots one before he steps in it and instead sets it off with the stick he is carrying.
- Cannibal Larder: Chris opens the fridge in the hillbillies' shack and discovers it is full of jars of human body parts. Then the cannibals arrive back and start butchering Francine's corpse.
- Car Fu: Chris rams a state patrol car through the hillbillies shack, taking One Eye out of the equation temporarily.
- Death by Sex: Francine and Evan have sex at the cars while the other go off to fetch help. They are the first to die.
- Ear Ache: Francine finds out what happened to the disappeared Evan when she finds his severed left ear on the ground.
- Genre Throwback: To 1980s horror films set in the backwoods.
- Glasgow Grin: Francine meets her end when one of the murderous, cannibalistic hillbillies sneaks up behind her and uses barbed wire to tear her mouth open. We later get several prolonged views of her mutilated face when the hillbillies bring her corpse back to their cabin.
- Hope Spot: in the opening scene, Halley almost makes it back to her car, before getting her leg caught in a trap.
- Idiot Ball: the good guys are four against three; they have just seen the trio is made of serial murderers, who butch humans, thus there is no reason to go easy on them; the trio is sleeping; the obvious thing to do is to take some of the trio's big knives and stabbing all the tree of them in their sleep at the same time. Instead they try to run away, managing to awake the trio almost immediately.
- Moe Greene Special: After Chris finds a deputy and starts telling him what has been going on, Saw Tooth shoots and arrow through the guy's eye.
- Molotov Cocktail: Chris uses several Molotov cocktails to set fire to the cannibals' shack before he rams it with the ranger's truck.
- Nightmare Dreams: While hiding from the hillbillies, Jessie has a brief nightmare where she and Chris are found by them.
- No Name Given: The gas station owner, who is simply titled as "Old Man".
- Off with His Head!: Carly's head is chopped off at the jaw against a tree. Her eyes still keep moving while her body falls down.
- Police Are Useless: a couple cops do come out to investigate, but both are Red Shirts. Based on the sequels, their colleagues never even bothered to do a thorough investigation into what happened to them.
- Sequel Hook: The very last scene in the film has screaming Three Finger attacking a deputy who is searching the trio's shack.
- Shout-Out: Scott tries to dissuade the characters from going inside a strange shack by asking if they had seen Deliverance. He gets only blind stares.
- The Stoner: When the others move away from the crashed cars to find help, Evan and Francine stay behind to enjoy some weed, and each other.
- Terrible Trio: The main villains: Three Finger, One Eye and Saw Tooth.
- Underside Ride: Chris hitches a ride under one of the cars stolen by the hillbillies to get back to their shack to rescue Jessie.
- Would Hurt a Child: Opening credits features news clippings of various disappearances in the area, that implied to be work of the cannibals. And one of these clippings is about a missing little girl...
- Later, when the group finds all the cars of past victims, many of them are family vehicles with dolls nearby.