Until humanity relearns how to walk for more than a block, the incapacitation of motor vehicles will stay as a breeding ground for bad choices followed by terrible deaths. Make sure to replace the summer air in your tires with winter air before you cozy up to these seven stranded motorist movies like “Wrong Turn.”
“Cabin in the Woods”
A flick where being heavily scripted is not just the intent but a huge part of the whole beautiful experience, “Cabin in the Woods” uses the horror genre as a way to pass down ancestral knowledge to the present day. A group of friends start out as more than the clichés they’ll end up driven into as they take a little vacation in the country and go up against ultimate world-destroying evil as well as a corporate quota with just as many inbred hillbillies as “Wrong Turn” had. The betting pool scene is a horrific showcase of devaluing human life that manages to be as funny as it is sad.
“Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil”
Turning the whole evil redneck/country boy genre on its ear, “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil” is a buddy-buddy horror comedy that turns hillbillies into the innocent victims of some twisted college kids. Tucker and Dale find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and a slight amount of peeping tom-ness as they start off renovating their vacation home and end up stranded and covered in more and more collegiate gore. The maniac wielding chainsaw scene is one for the history books as it makes a frightening event into a matter judged only by perspective.
“Wreckage” finds a group of friends wounded by one of their own in a junkyard after a street race left their car damaged. Rescue operations start as one of the group, Kelly, has disappeared into the junkyard and then the bullets start flying. Pretty standard twists but the best scene is where the newly freed dog waits for the comedic punch line to get spoken before he attacks.
“Wolf Creek” is that rare film where you know the destiny of the characters and yet are still horrified as their timeline unravels in front of you. Ben, Kristy, and Liz set off to explore the Australian countryside and soon have car trouble but luckily for them a local happens upon them and offers his help. The violence and charisma of the antagonist sells this movie as atypical horror fare that relies on the darkness within a human mind without using supernatural beings as a crutch. Ben’s escape from his captor makes each second stretch to eternity and should have you grimacing the whole way through.
The definition of a stranded motorist, an amnesiac wakes up in a crashed car with a broken leg and no real idea of what has happened. Between gleaning what knowledge about himself he can and crawling after a dog, “Wrecked” does provide a solid dose of drama; just don’t go in expecting “Memento” in a car. His encounter with a strange woman in the woods is an interesting scene of what happens to an individual if they have no past to rely on for their motives.
“30 Days of Night”
With the road blocked, telephone lines down, and a long night approaching, the people of Barrow, Alaska get a shipload of eternal euro trash dumped onto their community. An entire town that undergoes a month of darkness becomes a vampire's buffet in “30 Days of Night,” and that good old sun ain’t swinging by anytime soon. The utilization of the local girl Kirsten as bait by the vampires to find any wary townspeople is a great scene, filled with backstabbery and self-preservation.
Someone decided expectant parents were too laid back and went on to make “The Wreck.” Now wounded and trapped in their demolished car, the couple deals with the possibility of an unhelpful stranger watching them. Forget one scene and watch the last twenty minutes when their friend Chuck shows up for all the goofy, unexplainable plot twists you can stomach.