Directed by Nicholaus Goossen [Other horror films: N/A]
The Shortcut is a movie I’ve seen once before, quite some time ago. Much of the plot was lost of me, and given the quite tepid rating it has on IMDb (at the time of this writing, a 5.1/10), I went into this one again with the idea that it’d end up being a forgettable affair, and I think that on a whole, that’s what this is.
If there’s any saving grace, and I don’t think it saves it a hell of a lot, at least half of the performances in the film are decent, and gives you at least somewhat likable characters, which may not mean a whole lot given how bored you’re apt to be, but it was something I took note of.
Drew Seeley wasn’t the most interesting central character, and his love interest, played by Katrina Bowden (Tucker and Dale vs Evil and Piranha 3DD), wasn’t really that much better, but the others were solid, such as Josh Emerson as a jock who was actually decent, Dave Franco as comedic relief, and Shannon Woodward (The Haunting of Molly Hartley), a somewhat feistily playful and fun character.
Raymond J. Barry does as well as he could with his role. He doesn’t really add that much, but it’s more due to the fact that I think it was pretty obvious where the story was going, which short of hindered his effectiveness. William B. Davis (of The X-Files fame) was sort of nice to see, but ultimately failed to leave any type of lasting impression. The only other performance I wanted to mention was that of Nicholas Elia, who didn’t have much screen-time, but is a solid example of a story going exactly how you expect it to, in this case, the conclusion, which was laughable.
Certainly there are some aspects of this film I enjoy, but it takes a decent while to get going (I’d argue that things really don’t get moving until about an hour and five minutes in), and there’s not enough interesting characters to make that time feel like it’s well-spent (even the few flashbacks we get don’t really add that much, which was disappointing). The setting was okay in a drab forest-type way (this was filmed in Saskatchewan, Canada, which would explain that), but not the most exciting stuff you’ve seen.
Even with the not-so-stellar characters The Shortcut had, I think this could have been better if they had moved the story in a different direction, one that, I don’t know, might have actually had some surprising or more thrilling scenes. Oh, and they should have added a little something in the gore department – I liked seeing a hand get absolutely crushed (sledgehammer action for the win), but aside from that, this felt really tepid, which is a description I think could fit much of the film as a whole.
Maybe this is good for a one-time watch (or two, if you’re like me and forget everything about it the first time around), but I don’t really think there’s a hell of a lot of reason to seek this one out, and overall, while passable, this would be a difficult one to recommend to anyone.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Shortcut.