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Wrong Turn 2021's New Villains Explained (Are The Foundation Cannibals?)

2021 brought a reboot for the Wrong Turn franchise, and the movie's new villains The Foundation are nothing like the original's killer cannibals.
2021’s Wrong Turn reboot rewrites everything viewers thought they knew about the killer mountain man franchise, so who are its shadowy villains “The Foundation?" Released in 2003, the original Wrong Turn was a gruesomely effective throwback to both the wilderness survival horrors of the late '70s and gory backwoods slashers of the early '80s. The villains of Wrong Turn - a trio of cannibalistic inbred mountain men - owed their inspiration to the “civilized suburbanites vs mutated country folks” horrors of The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, the gory thrills and fast pace of the original Wrong Turn were modeled more on 1980s slashers like Just Before Dawn or Don’t Go Into The Woods than the comparatively thoughtful, politically-charged 70s horrors. In contrast, 2021’s Wrong Turn is a folk horror that attempts to humanize its villains more than even those 70s horrors managed. Outside of the title and basic concept, this new entry shares little in common with the previous six movies in the series. Why Wrong Turn 7's New Threat Is More Interesting Than The Cannibals In Wrong Turn 2021, the villains are no longer gleefully evil or mindless monsters, but instead an isolated community with long-outdated values. However, despite their decision to shun technology and social progress, this group - referred to as “the Foundation” - is not monstrous or evil, although their treatment of outsiders is far from humane. Who Are The Foundation?
A new set of villains hunting Charlotte Vega, Matthew Modine, and the rest of the Wrong Turn reboot's cast, the movie's new antagonists are known as The Foundation, and they are a cult who has been hiding out in the Appalachian Trail since the 19th century. They live a simple life but have rejected the modern world and deal with trespassers in a rather brutal manner. Early on in the reboot’s action, Wrong Turn’s hiker protagonists encounter a plaque commemorating the creation of the group and learned The Foundation believed the United States would soon destroy itself way back in 1859. Before this, the group comes across numerous strange figures including a mute young girl who later turns out to be a member of the cult. Are The Foundation Cannibals?
Unlike the antagonists of past Wrong Turn movies, The Foundation is not canonically depicted as being cannibals in the 2021 Wrong Turn reboot. There is a fleeting moment wherein one of their victims escapes from the "Darkness" (more on that later) and starving and feral, eats a man’s barely-dead body as he expires on the floor. However, this is one of the Foundation’s victims, not a member of the cult and it is clear she has been driven mad by isolation and starvation, where the original antagonists of Wrong Turn’s relied on cannibalism to survive. Are The Foundation Worse Than Wrong Turn’s Original Villains?
The question of whether The Foundation is more or less ruthless than the original trio of man-eating mutants is not as easy to answer as it may appear. There’s no denying the Foundation is far from being standard slasher villains, and the group scarcely resembles the gurning, stab-happy cannibals of later Wrong Turn installments who tortured helpless victims for fun as much as for sustenance. However, despite their modest existence, the reboot’s villainous group are gradually revealed to be pitilessly violent in their own way, dooming trespassers who they don’t gruesomely execute to a grim existence they refer to as the “darkness.” This sees the group blind their victims and then traps them in a subterranean cave, leaving them to fend for themselves. Wrong Turn's Creator Wrote The Worst Reviewed Movie In Rotten Tomatoes History It’s a twisted form of torture and the sheer size of the Foundation (an entire self-sustaining mountainside community) leads viewers to wonder whether this group has as big a body count as the original Hilliker brothers of the earlier Wrong Turn movies. Since the cult doesn't actively seek out victims there is an argument to be made they are at least more humane than the monstrous, human-hunting trio of slasher villains, but the reboot’s antagonists nonetheless do cause one of the franchise’s most hard-to-watch deaths. They crush the skull of a hiker who crossed them, and the number of victims glimpsed in the “darkness” during the heroine’s escape could reasonably make them even deadlier than the original villains. Why Wrong Turn’s Villains Changed
After the outsized success of 2019’s sleeper folk horror Midsommar, it would easy to argue the Wrong Turn reboot made its villains more human and civilized to cash in on Ari Aster’s movie. However, the remake’s director made it clear the more humanized and comparatively empathetic villains were intended to subvert the expectations of audiences who had grown tired of more conventional villains. To quote director Mike P. Nelson during a chat with MovieWeb: It’s important to me that they are not your typical bad guys. They’re not the backwoods hicks. They’re not the white supremacists. This is a community of people who are very intelligent and very proud of their way of life. They will do whatever it takes to defend it. It’s an interesting position to argue, as Nelson’s statement implies the Foundation are not unambiguously evil villains. Of course, the action of the film does belie this position somewhat as, while the cult is far from the monstrously sadistic villains of earlier movies, the primary antagonist and head of the group Venables does force himself on the movie’s heroine. The closing scenes, which see Venables leave The Foundation’s land to hunt down Wrong Turn’s heroine, Charlotte Vega's Jen, prove the group doesn’t actually stick to its professed principle of letting others be provided they don’t encroach on their territory. The sheer number of blinded, mutilated people left to die in the subterranean "darkness" proves that, although the reboot’s villains are more superficially civilized, they can still be vicious. What Wrong Turn’s New Villains Mean For The Franchise
It’s hard to know whether the Wrong Turn reboot will earn any sequels since the movie earned mixed reviews. However, the original film was far from critically beloved and it earned a sextet of direct-to-DVD sequels, so there is a chance audiences will see the group in action again. The number of members The Foundation boasts means that any Wrong Turn sequel could bring back the characters without needing to revive the lead slasher villain Venables, while their comparatively normal appearance means they could be a more easily hidden threat than the visibly grotesque Hilliker siblings.

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