Two college students, Halley Smith (Yvonne Gaudry) and Richard Stoker (Joel Harris), are rock climbing in the West Virginia Forest. Rich reaches the top, while Halley continues to climb. After Halley begins to struggle, she notices Rich's bloodied hand at the top of the cliff before his body is thrown off the cliff. Someone begins to pull Halley up the cliff by her climbing rope. She cuts it, making her fall. She attempts to escape to her car but trips over barbed wire before being pulled back into the woods by an unseen force, before having her throat slit.
Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington), a medical student, is driving through the mountains of West Virginia on his way to a job interview. Due to a chemical spill in the road ahead, he is forced to take a different route. He stops at an old rundown gas station and meets an old man. The old man is not helpful, but Chris views a map detailing another possible route that heads straight towards the city to which he needed to go. Chris decides to take the road and as he is driving he crashes into a Range Rover stranded in the middle of the road. The car belongs to a group of friends on a hiking trip: Jessie Burlingame (which happened to be the name of protagonist in Stephen King's 1992 horror novel Gerald's Game), (Eliza Dushku), Carly Numan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), her fiancé Scott Korbee (Jeremy Sisto), and a couple, Evan Ross and Francine Childes (Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth). Jessie finds a piece of barbed wire in the woods that was tied to a tree across the road after their tires were punctured. Jessie, Carly, and Scott go to the woods to find help. Chris joins them, while Evan and Francine stay with the cars. After Evan and Francine partake in a round of oral sex, Evan starts to fix their car, before hearing a strange noise and goes to investigate.
After a while, Francine notices that he is missing, and she goes into the woods to look for him. As Francine ventures further into the woods, she finds his sneaker, and his severed ear. As Francine stumbles back, she realizes what is going on in a shock. She screams and is still shocked to know what is happening when a figure wraps barbed wire around her mouth, tearing it open and killing her. As Chris, Jessie, Carly and Scott try to find help, they find an isolated cabin. They go into the cabin and discover miscellaneous objects, and human body parts. They are horrified and try to escape, but they hear the occupants coming back and are forced to hide. Scott and Carly hide in what seems like a room filled with items from throughout the years. Chris and Jessie are forced to hide underneath one of the disgusting cots. Three cannibalistic mountain men, all whom are extremely disfigured, enter the cabin and bring in Francine's dead body. Chris, Jessie, Carly and Scott silently watch in horror, as her body is brutally butchered and messily eaten.
As the cannibals fall asleep, the friends silently escape, however, "Saw Tooth" (Gary Robbins) awakes and alerts the other cannibals and begins to chase the friends through the forest. The group climbs up to a nearby clearing with many cars, which they realize are the cars of the cannibals' victims. Chris makes a diversion and is shot in the leg. Scott saves him by using himself as a decoy, allowing Jessie and Carly to steal one of the cannibals' trucks. Chris gets into the truck, and they drive down a path close by trying to find Scott. Carly sees Scott in the forest. As Scott starts to make his way to the truck, he is shot three times in the back with arrows and killed. The arrow almost hits the others, and Chris forces Jessie to drive and escape fast. The cannibals pick up Scott's dead body and take it back to their cabin.
Chris, Jessie and Carly hit a dead end in the road and have to continue on foot, comforting Carly about her loss. They find an old watchtower and begin to climb up, and find a radio and use it to call for help, but do not get a response. Later they see the cannibals, who are armed with torches and reaching the foot of the watchtower. The radio starts responding to their call, alerting the cannibals. Carly tries to make an urgent response but is interrupted when Three Finger (Julian Richings) tries to climb into the watchtower. He tries to get through the panel on the floor of the tower but is stopped by Chris. The cannibals then set the tower on fire. Chris, Carly and Jessie escape by jumping out of the window into a nearby tree. They begin to climb up, but Three-Finger starts to climb up a tree near them. Chris and Jessie begin to climb higher as Carly stands on a branch, too afraid to climb further. Chris and Jessie make it to another tree, but Three-Finger sneaks up behind Carly and chops her head in half with an axe and her body falls through the trees, as Chris and a sobbing Jessie watch in horror. They decide to avenge Carly and trick Three-Finger to get hit by a branch and fall out of the tree, giving the last two survivors a chance to escape. They escape from the cannibals and hide in a cave near a waterfall until the next morning, where Chris comforts Jessie. Just as they find a road out of the woods, the mountain men find them and push Chris down the hill and capture Jessie and take her back to their cabin. Chris survives the fall and meets a sheriff, but before he is able to convince the Sheriff of what is happening, the Sheriff is killed when an arrow shot from the woods hits him in the head. Chris attempts to drive away in the car, but can not find the key, so instead hitches a ride underneath the car as the cannibal drives it back to the cabin.
When the cannibals arrive at the cabin, Jessie is tied to a bed and gagged with a belt, begging for help. Outside, the cannibal in the police truck arrives, with Chris still in tow. After the cannibal goes inside with the sheriff's body, Chris gets down from the bottom of the truck. Back inside, as Jessie is about to be killed, the front of the cabin is smashed through, by Chris, who is now driving the truck. He drives straight into the cabin and smashes into "One-Eye" (Ted Clark). When Chris unties Jessie, he is attacked by Saw-Tooth. Jessie shoots Saw-Tooth in the back of the neck with his own bow and arrow. She and Chris also fight Three-Finger, and finish him off by hitting him with an axe. Chris and Jessie notice that the cannibals are still alive, and they quickly go outside. Chris has only one shotgun shell left, which he shoots at the truck, blowing up the cabin with the cannibals still inside. Chris and Jessie, driving the cannibals' truck, stop back at the gas station. Chris, badly injured, gets out of the truck and takes the map to the cannibals' cabin, so no one will ever go into the woods again. Chris gets back into the truck, as Jessie drives down the road, and the credits roll.
The credits are interrupted by a scene showing a deputy sheriff investigating and picking over the remains of the destroyed cabin. Three-Finger, who survived the explosion, comes up behind the deputy. The deputy turns to see a shadowy figure holding an axe, and then Three-Finger's face is visible as he nods and hollers. The scene fades to black and his insane laughter is heard, as the credits continue to roll.
- Desmond Harrington as Chris Flynn
- Eliza Dushku as Jessie Burlingame
- Emmanuelle Chriqui as Carly
- Jeremy Sisto as Scott
- Kevin Zegers as Evan
- Lindy Booth as Francine
- Julian Richings as Three Finger
- Gary Robbins as Saw-Tooth
- Ted Clark as One-Eye
- Yvonne Gaudry as Halley
- Joel Harris as Rich
- David Huband as Trooper
- Wayne Robson as Old Man
- James Downing as Trucker
Two soundtracks were released; one containing the original film score and the other containing popular music.
- The Score
- "Dark Forest"
- "Wrong Turn Title"
- "Mountain Men"
- "Cabin in the Woods"
- "Adventure Begins"
- "Mountain Men at Home"
- "Francine Dies"
- "Scott Becomes Prey"
- "Bear Trap"
- "Escape from Cabin"
- "Jessie Taken Hostage"
- "Fire in the Watchtower"
- "Grim Discoveries"
- "Are We Safe?"
- "They Got Carly"
- "Killing Mountain Men"
- "We Are Alive"
- "Three-Finger Is Back"
- Commercial Release Edition
- "In Stance" - Eris
- "Bloody Fingers" - Jet Black Summer
- "Every Famous Last Word" - Miracle of 86
- "Never Said Anything" - The Belles
- "Why Would I Want to Die?" - Grandaddy
- "Haunted" - King Black Acid
- "Three Murders" - Deadman
- "Ex" - Tara King Theory
- "Birthday" - Simple
- "Even the Scars Forget the Wound" - Gruvis Malt
- "He's a Killer" - DJ Swamp
- "Bring the Pain"/"Multiple Incisions" - Candiria
- " If Only" - Queens of The Stone Age
Wrong Turn received mixed reviews, with a current 40% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also has a poor rating of 32 on the Metacritic review website.
- Main article: Wrong Turn 2
After the commercial success of the DVD release, the film was followed by the 2007 direct-to-DVD sequel Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, which stars Erica Leerhsen, Crystal Lowe, Henry Rollins, and Texas Battle, and was directed by Joe Lynch. The sequel was also very successful on DVD and received positive response from the critics. The film was re-titled Dead Camp when shown on South Korean television.
O'Brien returned to direct Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, which began shooting in February 2011 in Winnipeg. The film serves as a prequel to the previous three films and was released direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray on October 17, 2011.
O'Brien followed this with Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines, which serves as a sequel to Wrong Turn 4 and acts as an interquel between the prologue and the main events of that film. The film was released direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray on October 23, 2012.
O'Brien was later replaced as director by Valeri Milev for the subsequent sequel Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort, which began filming in March 2014 in Bulgaria. This film is chronologically the first film in the series and was released direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray on October 13, 2014. All copies of the film were temporarily recalled after a court case was filed regarding the unauthorized usage of real life photos in the movie, however the film was re-released several months later with the offending photos blurred out.