Wrong Turn is the first in a series of horror movies that depict cannibalism in the backwoods of the mountains. All the stereotypes of backwards inbred hicks are covered by the group of cannibalistic men living in the middle of nowhere and laying taps on the only road through their territory to ensnare and eat unsuspecting travelers.
The film opens with a couple hiking, and as the man tries to help the woman he is killed, then she cuts her rope to escape. Once she has survived the fall and set off on foot to get away she is snared with barbed wire, pulled back into the woods and killed.
Now we cut to a med student on his journey who is blocked by a chemical spill in the road. He pulls into a gas station and sees a map with a shortcut to his destination. He sets off and wrecks his car in the road when he hits another vehicle stranded by flat tires in the middle of the road. The vehicle belongs to a group of friends on a biking trip, and their tires have been flattened by barbed wire. While some of the group go to find help, including the med student, two stay behind. As one of the pair starts trying to fix their car, then hears a strange noise and goes into the woods to investigate. Once the girl realizes he is gone, she goes to find him, and is killed, after finding his severed ear in the woods.
The group who went for help stumble upon a cabin, and enter to find odd implements, human body parts, and the occupants coming home. They are forced to hide and watch as their friend is butchered and eaten before the disfigured cannibals fall asleep. As they try to sneak out, one awakens and alerts the rest. The chase is on, with the group growing smaller and smaller as they are picked off.
They find a watchtower, and try to raise help with the radio inside. As they are waiting for a response, it comes just as the cannibals are under the tower with torches. This leads to the cannibals trying to climb into the tower with no success, and they hen set it on fire. The group inside are forced to climb into nearby trees, followed closely by the cannibals.
They manage to escape but the girl is captured. The med student finds a sheriff, but as he is telling his story the sheriff is shot by arrows and dies. The med student then uses the sheriff's car to crash into the cabin, save the girl and blow the cannibals home up.