Wednesday, January 6, 2010

THE SHORTCUT

Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company steps into a different film genre with their new Scary Madison division, unleashing upon the world yet another watered down "teen horror thriller," THE SHORTCUT.

In this small, suburban town, there’s a shortcut through the woods that would save the local kids a lot of time getting to school. But since the trail runs by a creepy house inhabited by a crazy old man – a man that local legend suggests was responsible for the disappearance of several people years ago - none of the kids living in the neighborhood dare to use it. Now, though, when it looks like the weirdo has been killing their pets, a few bold (and none too bright) teenagers decide to find out what the old guy’s story really is, only to discover the shovel-wielding madman’s horrifying secret.

A decent cast of young actors and actresses, atmospheric cinematography, and generally effective direction by Nicholaus Goossen should have combined to make THE SHORTCUT a solid little thriller… unfortunately (according to Goosen’s commentary), the investors’ insistence that the film garner a PG-13 rating, seriously undercuts its effectiveness as a horror movie. There are some imaginative "kills" but they’re pretty much bloodless and rushed by, and the obligatory twist ending is anything but surprising. It’s too bad, because on a technical level, THE SHORTCUT is pretty slick. Too bad it’s ultimately toothless.

Anchor Bay’s DVD presentation is very nice, with a razor-sharp 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and 5.1 Dolby Surround audio. Extras are limited to an exhaustive audio commentary by director Goosen and the movie trailer.

Basically, THE SHORTCUT is just another teen slash ‘n slay flick, nicely produced but fairly forgettable. It’s not terrible, but it’s really nothing special, either.

BUY: The Shortcut