• Nate Adams

Review: Sloppy B-movie 'Shortcut' painful to endure


Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

An exercise in lazy storytelling, cheap effects, and abysmal performances, Alessio Ligori’s sloppy B-movie “Shortcut” never has fun with its ridiculous premise. Riffing off the atmospheric tension akin to “Jeepers Creepers 2,” but never building any suspense or momentum - and worse, no memorable slashings, writer Daniele Cosci strips the characters down to basic archetypes, and the lore surrounding the main creature is so unoriginal, they should be paying royalties to the creators of werewolves and vampires. 


For starters, “Shortcut” opens with a bizarre opening sequence in which a child with a yellow raincoat (“Hiya Georgie!”) gets lost in the woods, searching for his sister who was attacked and ravaged by a beast. Cut to present day, and a lowly group of teenagers (Jack Kane, Zak Sutcliffe, Sophie Oliver, and Zander Emalano) get stranded on a bus after taking a detour that lands them in the middle of nowhere with a murderous manic and one vicious creature out for blood. 


The students try to concoct ways to dismantle the murderous entity, and instead revert to barricading themselves inside before they’re forced to go on the run or become dinner. The kids attempt to mobilize while Cosci explains the mythology of the unseen creature, but it's wrapped up in such a cheap package, I doubt anyone with a lick of common sense will care. The ensemble also struggle to convey the emotional burden necessary for audiences to stay invested. 


Opening in select drive-ins - before an eventual streaming release -  there could be something fun about watching “Shortcut” in that medium, if only because in the right setting anything can become enjoyable (see “The New Mutants”). But as it stands, watching “Shortcut” at home doesn’t gel, Ligori’s lighting and framing is atrocious, and though some of the creature special effects and sound mixing are tangible (who doesn’t love practical effects) the screenplay is utterly lacking. 


This is one shortcut not worth taking. 


Grade: D- 


SHORTCUT will have a limited drive-in run starting Friday September 25th before a VOD release December 22nd. Check your local listings.