We have a film that totally misreads what audience it should be targeting and by trying to go more mature, Shortcut never convinces its audience enough. This is a film that needs to be aimed at younger audiences to be more effective. A missed opportunity of a horror.
A mysterious creature terrorizes five teenage friends after their bus takes a shortcut on a desolate road in the wild during a lunar eclipse.
Rarely does a film that has a runtime of 80 minutes feel as if it is thoroughly dragging its feet, but here we are with Shortcut, a film that does absolutely nothing of note other than watching a lovely red bus drive about for 12 minutes. This is a movie that has no right nor reason to be a feature really, not with this current incarnation of a script. Which is a bit of a shame really as these are a group of characters you could spend time with easily, there just isn’t enough going on to warrant what we see.
Usually we would spend the opening truly getting to know our ensemble and get the chance to know them, here we never get that opportunity other than some very, very rough ideas of who these young people are. By wasting this precious time with the characters they never rise above simply being scared teens, who can’t really convey what they are witnessing successfully enough to convince the audience. As a prime example, when the first character is killed by the creature, other than a few gasps and shocked looks, they barely react.
On the plus side, from what we see of our monster, it certainly looks the part and has the design that is of something worthy of better material. We don’t get too much time with the monster, which is a shame as the less time spent with the ensemble would be better for everyone involved. Coupled with the creature design there is solid cinematography here as we get some great visuals from time to time by Luca Santagostino. Beyond that though, there really isn’t much of note to commend the film for.
The script hinders Shortcut to a devastating effect, we can see the talents wanting to emerge from these young actors, but they are mostly given nothing to work with other than clunky awkward dialogue. With the film bizarrely stopping halfway in to try and explain the creature, we lose all of the minimal momentum we had. This is a film that never helps itself with its story.
Where Shortcut actually stops itself from being a pretty good Goosebumps style horror by including as much blood and language as it does. If it held that back and focused more on the character arcs and their development, then this would be a perfect horror for younger audiences to get into, especially with characters who look as young as they do. By trying to go more mature, they lose what opportunities they have to be effective.
Shortcut is a film that would have worked with atleast another 20 minutes cut from it. Sadly we are left with a film that never kicks into gear and never gets going enough due to its dull script.
Shortcut will be available on Digital Download from 29th March
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