This straight-to-video sequel establishes a tonal shift from the relatively serious Wrong Turn in its opening scene. A young starlet spouts hammy dialogue into her mobile, speeding along country roads in a red convertible, before a deformed hillbilly literally splits her in two with a hatchet. The scene is far broader – and more enjoyable – than any from its predecessor, and is pretty representative of Dead End on the whole.
It may not have the budget, B-list actors or restraint of Wrong Turn, but what it does have – inventive, absurdly over-the-top gore, gratuitous nudity, a clever conceit (the victims are all involved in a “survival” reality show), a perfectly-cast Henry Rollins and genuine tension, particularly in the later scenes – more than make up for it. There’re even some (fairly clunky) attempts at character development! It isn’t “better” than Wrong Turn by any objective measure but it’s certainly more entertaining.
Aside from the reality show setting (which is, sadly, largely squandered) the film is dripping with clichés, including an extended dinner scene that is a blatant rip off of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (though with an amusing twist that I won’t spoil), but it still managed put a smile on my face throughout.