Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Declan O'Brien
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 93 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, French
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Review Date: October 24, 2011
Nine college friends on snowmobiles get lost in a massive winter storm and seek shelter in the abandoned Glenville Sanatorium. Though not in use since 1974, the place has been the home for the three Hilliker brothers (Sean Skene, Dan Skene, Scott Johnson), cannibalistic inbred brothers who were instrumental in a series of grisly murders there before it was closed. Now, twenty-nine years later, the collegiates aren’t aware anyone is there at first, but as prankster Vincent (Sean Skene) goes missing and the gang is thrown the head of Porter (Dave Harms) wrapped in his jacket by the brothers, they know they have a fight on their hands if they’re to survive.
One of the better ideas in the Declan O'Brien script is that once two or three of the kids die, the rest of the group decides to stand and fight rather than simply allow themselves to be served up as so much meat to be butchered. It’s ludicrous, of course, that they make one boneheaded decision after another once they decide to defend themselves and that the brothers seem to have a sixth sense about what the students are going to try next and are always a few moves ahead of them. It is truly amazing that many of these kids actually made it TO college because their reasoning skills are nil, and they let themselves get separated instead of relying on the relative safety in numbers that they originally possessed. None of the victims are particularly likable (they may be friends, but they use insults continually), so one wonders if the director didn’t purposely make the students disagreeable so that the audience would pull for the killers to be triumphant (was there ever any doubt they would be?)
Director O'Brien takes some risky chances here: though his first murders begin about five minutes into the film (and a semi-crucifixion is very graphic), he waits almost half an hour before staging another one showing great belief in his audience’s willingness to trust him to deliver the goods once the real mayhem begins. Though most of the murders we’ve seen before, and there are only one or two really effective “boo” moments, the film’s gore quotient is likely everything a slasher fan might want. The brothers make inspired use of barbed wire throughout the film, and there’s an extended sequence where Daniel (Dean Armstrong) is strapped to a table in the kitchen and systematically carved up as the brothers have him as stir fry complete with spuds and onions on a skewer (Actor Armstrong screams himself hoarse: ridiculous, of course, since the pain would surely have made him pass out early on). O’Brien also stumbles in the early sequence by using “The Blue Danube” as the background music while the inmates at the asylum take over, negating every bit of horror from the scene by staging it to such lyrical music.
Dean Armstrong is likely the most famous face among the main cast, and despite his “friends” calling him a girl and a princess, he seems the most fearless of the male characters and definitely not deserving those aspersions cast on his manhood. Arne MacPherson as Dr. Ryan, one of the early victims in the pre-credit sequence set in 1974, also shows some welcome range. Sean Skene does double duty in the film, as the prank-playing Vincent but also as Three Finger, one of the three Hilliker brothers (in heavy make-up, of course). Though the ladies are all quite lovely, and there’s some brief nudity with them in some early sex scenes (including a lesbian couple that leaves little to the imagination), neither Tenika Davis, Jenny Pudavick, Terra Vnesa, nor Kaitlyn Wong make strong enough impressions to merit further mention (except maybe to compliment their abilities to scream).
The film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Black levels are the most disappointing aspect of the transfer not reaching nearly the depths of inkiness that could have given the picture an extra sense of “pop,” especially since the finale takes place out of doors at night. Color saturation levels are very good, and flesh tones and the color of all that blood are very realistic. Sharpness is also excellent for such a low budget enterprise. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a disappointment for most of the running time. Until the climactic chase sequence on snowmobiles where the roar of engines travels in a circle around the soundfield, the rear channels aren’t used to any extent at all, and the movie for the most part remains a frontcentric enterprise. Dialogue is firmly rooted to the center channel, and Claude Fosy’s music gets a stereo mix across the fronts. There is a fair degree of bass used to ramp up tension, and the LFE channel handles it quite well.
The audio commentary is mostly spoken by writer-director Declan O'Brien with line producer Brad Pearson also commenting on the on-screen action and asking questions of O’Brien during the film. The two eventually segue into wryly commenting on the action or on upcoming events rather than discussing the production of the movie, so only fans of the film are likely to stay with this to its end.
Unless otherwise noted, the video featurettes are presented in 1080p.
“Director’s Die-aries” are brief video comments taped over the course of the movie’s 19-day shoot. Location shooting in Winnipeg found the temperatures at 30 below zero, a fact that several members of the cast and crew comment on. It runs 7 ½ minutes.
“Making Another Wrong Turn” features positive comments from producer Kim Todd, director Declan O'Brien, and assorted cast and stunt and special effects crews on everyone’s efforts in making the movie on such a low budget and in such a short amount of time. This runs 12 ½ minutes.
“Lifestyles of the Sick and Infamous” is a brief (5 ¼ minutes) tour of the actual abandoned sanatorium which was used for location shooting of the movie, perfect since it was abandoned in the 1970s just as the one in the film was.
A music video for the film is performed by the Blackout City Kids and runs for 3 ½ minutes.
There are thirteen deleted/extended scenes which are collected together in an 18 ¼-minute montage. They’re presented in 480i.
The second disc in the set is the DVD version of the movie.
2.5/5 (not an average)
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings is just what a slasher movie fan would expect from a movie of this type: lots of violence with a few gross-out scenes to add to the fun and a bunch of clueless kids attempting to resist the inevitable. There is more bonus content than one might expect for this kind of movie, and fans will likely enjoy it.