Plot:A shortcut through the woods saved a lot of time getting to school, but no kids growing up in a suburban neighborhood dared to take it. The trail ran within sight of a scary house with an eerie old man who would accost its travelers with an ominous message to stay away. Town legend said he was involved in the disappearances of some kids long ago. Now that some of those same kids are in their late teens, they decide to find out the truth about the old man after they learn he’s still at his game.
My Thoughts:Avoid this shortcut, it's a waste.
Review:"The Shortcut" is an attempt from Scary Madison, Adam Sandler's new genre shingle, at horror. It's their first attempt, and since Sandler isn't known as a guy who's hardcore on horror (Little Nicky anyone?), I wasn't expecting a lot of scares from "The Shortcut". And that's exactly what I got, NO SCARES. The film follows a shortcut in a small town. Everyone small town has one of these. A shortcut through the woods where people take it to get to where they wanna go faster.
However, there's also many urban legends and local myths which surround these paths. In this film, people, many of them in fact, have mysteriously vanished while taking this particular shortcut. And the reason why, is an old man who carries around a chain. But no one can link this old man to the killings, and he stills stalks the shortcut. Not sure if this is because small town police are so bad at their jobs, or if it's because no one really cares enough to check it out, but either way, a bunch of missing people are just left to be declared "missing".
And so after the fiilm starts off with an opening scene set during the time of World War II, it fast-forwards to the present. When a teenagers younger brother gets scared by the old man as he takes the shortcut home, it opens up a scenario where some of the local teenagers take it upon themselves to investigate the shortcut, and the creepy old man who resides there. This movie above all else, is boring. It delivers on absolutely nothing that a horror film should deliver on.
First and foremost, old people who make threats and look grizzled and unwashed are not scary. It may have worked back in the day for horror films, but this is 2009. This film relies on a crazy-looking old man as it's villain. As it's way that it's gonna scare and freak you out. This guy is a complete jole though, and unless you're 12 or under, you won't find him scary. With, or without his trusty chain. Also this film leads us to believe that kids, teenagers, and animals can go missing in a small town, and no real police investigation is ever embarked upon.
We all know this isn't true, considering this film portrays the town as a super-low-crime area, and when you compare a tiny town to a big city, cops have more resources and less ground to cover when searching for missing people. This movie leads us to believe that this crazy old man is smart enough to not get caught, and that he has somehow outwitted the cops to the point where they won't even bother to search the area anymore. Yeah.....right. There aren't any major kills in this film either.
Other than some shootings, and a dog which is killed during a blacked-out moment, this movie doesn't even begin to reach true slasher film status. The old man's story is told in flashback form, and it runs along the lines of Freddy Krueger and Ted Bundy, in that the guy as a kid was deranged, had trouble with discipline in school, etc. And of course, he grew up to be a killer, and his redneck parents covered up his murders. What a surprise. I think every indie horror film with a deranged old white guy has used this backstory so much it's become a permanent fixture at this point.
The teenagers are also so annoying with their sex jokes, lame non-sex jokes, and typical idiotic behavior. Gotta love when they go into the woods to confront this guy with no weapons. You'd think with how many school shootings happen in small town america, these kids would've atleast been able to score a small pistol to defend themselves. At any rate, they decide to venture into the woods to confront this guy, which comes in the films third and final act, where we can finally breathe a sigh of relief that this film will come to an end.
I honestly couldn't stand the bad acting, cliches, and warped logic any longer than the 82 minutes or so this film had to offer. The finale of course does have a twist, and while the twist is funny, it's also enough to make you roll your eyes at how dumb, idiotic, and typical it is. It's just a twist that is funny in a bad way. And the fact that it sets up a potential second film, is definitely something that isn't funny. Not in the least. "The Shortcut" is a perfect example of what happens when anyone thinks they can make a horror movie.
We should be thankful that this one didn't make it into theaters. I suspect the reaction from some of the audiences would've sparked a full-fledged riot and screams of..."I want my money back!". Atleast studios have some sense...key word being "some". While some pure shit that passes for horror does slip into cinemas from time to time, this one didn't get through the net. And that's a good thing.
Positives:Some of the old mans lines, particularly the one where he warns a kid that "next time it'll be his blood", were sort of comical in their ridiculousness.
Negatives:Too many genre cliches, no deaths to speak of that have impact, bad acting, annoying characters, a really crappy villain, and the ending was just one big "yuck, yuck, that's so retarded..." moment.
Overall:One star out of four.
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