Movie Review: Shortcut (2020)

September 13, 2020

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

 

 

Headed to theaters this September is the survival horror Shortcut from director Alessio Liguori. Ahead of its debut, I snagged a copy to review. Here are my thoughts.

 

Written by Daniele Cosci, Shortcut follows a group of five teens and their bus driver as they travel down an empty road. When they come to a spot blocked by a downed tree they must take a shortcut, only to find that road blocked as well by a dead deer. When the bus driver (Terence Anderson) gets out to drag it off the road so that they continue their journey, he is ambushed by a psycho and held at gunpoint, and forced to keep driving. You would think that things were bad enough, but you’d be wrong. There’s something out there, something hungry, that is ready to pounce when the bus breaks down in a tunnel.

 

Let me start off by saying that I was very impressed by the young cast that includes Jack Kane, Zak Sutcliffe, Sophie Jane Oliver, Zander Emlano, and Molly Dew. They did a fantastic job of emoting the terror and desperation that fills the movie.

 

The cinematography by Luca Santagostino is fantastic. The way the scenes in the underground compound are shot is clever. And the way the light is captured and manipulated adds a lot of depth to the film and its tension. Bravo Luca.

 

I like the fact that we never get a really good look at the monster in the light, only brief glimpses. It’s a smart way to not only keep the viewer’s imagination going but also a good way to save on special effects. Besides, when we see a creature in full light it often loses some of its scariness. This monster is one ugly s.o.b. though. It has a face only a mother could love (if she were blind). I would have liked to have learned more about the creature, but sometimes leaving things a mystery adds to the story.

 

The movie’s story is interesting and fresh and the action never stops. Oh, and here’s a tip, don’t stop the movie until you see the credits roll. Just when you think it’s over, there’s an extra scene that provides a nice bonus twist.

 

Unfortunately, there are a few moments that didn’t quite add up, for example, why do characters make such terrible choices so frequently. Yes, I get that they are kids but that’s not an excuse. And why does everything seem so difficult? Engines die, doors won’t open, levers take multiple people to pull, but this underground compound that’s god knows how old starts right up, and the lights all come on perfectly and the kids know how to turn it all on?  But, it is a movie after all. I guess that’s where the audience’s suspension of disbelief is meant to kick in.

 

While adults will enjoy Shortcut, I got the impression that the audience the film is aiming for is 14 to people in their early 20s. Which isn’t a bad thing. Teens need horror too. Before you let your kid watch it, I should give you a heads up that there a good bit of gore and foul language. But kids have seen worse, I’m sure they’ve watched the news a time or two. I would recommend it if you are looking for a movie to watch with older kids.

 

All in all, Shortcut was a good flick that will keep you on your toes. It’s got a good story, fantastic cinematography, plenty of action, and a lot of blood.

 

Shortcut opens in theaters on September 25th, followed by its release on VOD and Digital on December 22, 2020, from Gravitas Ventures.

 

 

 

 

 

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