U Turn (2020) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

U Turn (2020) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on January 16th, 2021 | Movie Review | Campy, Police, Revenge

It’s about a stretch of cursed urban highway with a prohibition concerning u-turns.

U Turn was directed by Roderick Cabrido (as Derick Cabrido) (Tuos, Purgatoryo) and stars Kim Chiu (from Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo?), JM de Guzman, and Tony Labrusca.

Can an ambitious young journalist identify the culprit behind a string of murders misconstrued as suicides?

U Turn Review

U Turn (released in 2020) is a Filipino remake of a Bollywood movie with the same title dated two years earlier. The first film was written and directed by Pawan Kumar. He is credited in this one, too, as the original screenwriter. Both films are worthwhile flicks and different enough from one another to make back-to-back double-feature viewing enjoyable. But the newer Filipino variation does a better job at a maintaining a slightly dulled visceral edge.  

Horror movies typically employ a moral subtext, some more subtly than others. What happens when Little Red Riding Hood leaves the path? Gore and consumption. What happens when teens procreate? Guts and slashing. U Turn is no different.

The moral admonishment here is – you guessed it – to obey traffic laws. Characters face comeuppance for deviating from the ‘No U-Turn rule’ at an out-of-the-way roadway where a spooky hobo tabulates violators. This sounds campy, and it is. But not in a self-aware way – nor in a way which detracts from the narrative.

The lead character is Donna, a journalist at an online news site where the pressure to produce viral-worthy stories tempts her to rearrange things at accident scenes for better effect.  While a love triangle sub-plot ambles along, she uses her journalistic chops to find out the identity of the culprit making trouble in Manilla. Played by the talented Kim Chiu, Donna doggedly tackles the issue after the mayhem affects her personally.

Part Scooby-Doo whodunnit and part Asian ghost tale, U Turn features a minuscule gore budget. It relies mostly on darkened scenes and below-average antagonist make-up. The ghost kills are predictably placed. The scare factor is modest, but the production is slick. And the characters utter a charming Tagalog-Spanish-English mishmash that makes the subtitles almost optional.

U Turn is a morality play. There are a host of implied admonitions besides the eponymous traffic rule. There strictures against unethical journalism, lukewarm interpersonal commitments, the misuse of police authority, misdelivered texts, tampering with evidence, co-opting jewelry, inattention to family time. The list goes on. The transgressions multiply. The ghosts don’t.

The film suffers from a few transgressions of its own. The storyline is routine, and it suffers from some unrepaired plot holes. Still, it has a certain charm.  The emphasis on Donna’s mother-brother-sister relationships give more contours to the protagonist than her tepid love interest. It’s a nice touch. Meanwhile, some unintentional chuckles provide some levity, such as the film’s insistence upon a truly bizarre law which mandates that anyone who has touched a corpse is automatically a murder suspect even after they’re been fully exonerated by the evidence.

Worth Watching?

Why not? A quirky spooky oddity is more interesting than a masterpiece any day.

U Turn (2020) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

Would it Kill You to Subscribe?

Get horror news, reviews and movie recommendations every Friday!

We respect your email privacy