Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Yucky Movies of October (Jay's review edition): The Shortcut

...and just like this we're back to the "Blergh" with a sucky Yucky movie that feels like an ABC Family channel film for nihilists. But this one is special 'cuz it's a review, and you know you need to be checking those out!



Just behind the grammar school and past the 'No Trespassing' sign is the shortcut through the woods that nobody dares to take: People in town still whisper about the creepy old guy who lives back there and the kids that disappeared near his home a long time ago. Now a group of high school seniors has decided to find out just what the shovel-wielding weirdo may be hiding. But even if they can uncover his shocking secret, will they survive what happens when the truth is finally unleashed? Dave Franco ("Privileged", "Greek"), Katrina Bowden ("30 Rock"), Shannon Woodward ("The Riches") and Drew Seeley (Another Cinderella Story) star in this first twisted shocker from Scary Madison Productions (an offshoot of Happy Madison Productions) that takes a whole new route to horror.


A local legends of a spooky path in the woods turns out to have tragically fatal consequences for a group on small-town teenagers. That said, when you watch this film you'll be wondering all the things I did. Why not call the police? For that matter, why haven't the police already done something about an anti-social creep in the woods if people are occasionally disappearing near his property? Why do cell phones lose their reception when lives are in danger in movies? When you see something that's as downright crazy and disturbing as the contents of the house they break into, why don't these kids run screaming for adults? Just how big are these woods anyways?

The final question is, sadly, why did they bother making this movie if they defanged it? Reading up, it seems this was originally going to be a harder horror flick, but investors watered that down to appeal to teens and be a more palatable PG-13. To their credit, the young actors get to play teens that act like teens. One's a real jerk and another is so concerned for his dog's safety he'll go along with the cockamamie plan they come up with. On the whole, the filmmakers created a palatable story that seems to still deliver the storyline they wanted, but without the bite and gore to make it worthwhile. Instead, you get some quick, throwaway endings that, while chilling in their own right, aren't anywhere near satisfying as they should be.

At 85 minutes, it's snappy, but the ABC Family Channel feel of the production doesn't jibe with the body count. Also, it's a shame those kids are too young to know that when you see the Cigarette-Smoking Man from The X-files (co-star William B. Davis) you get the heck outta there.


-Trailers for Nature Of The Beast (Werewolf wedding comedy), It's a Boy Girl Thing (body swap teen-sex comedy), Nanny Insanity (no comment), and The Shortcut.
-Audio Commentary by the Director.
-Dolby Surround 5.1 English with English Subtitles

A "Slasher flick" in training pants with an afterthought body count and coda that's downright annoying, you could sit the teens down with it during an October sleepover to excellent results. Other than that, it's for the completist only.


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