This week on "Justin Hall At The Movies," I'll be reviewing a group of teens who take the wrong way in "Shortcut."
Shortcut is basically Alien meets The Breakfast Club. That's not quite a good thing in this case.
The movie centers around a group of teens on a bus going home and discussing a lunar eclipse and each kid does seem like a caricature out of The Breakfast Club. We get a rebel punk, a brainiac, a shy kid, and the other two are more regular rather than fitting into a mold.
Zak Sutcliffe, Jack Kane, Sophie Jane Oliver, Zander Emlano, and Molly Dew are the kids and along with their bus driver (Terence Anderson), things are going smoothly until their bus is hijacked by a crazed killer (David Keyes) and the bus breaks down.
Soon afterwards, they hear a growl coming from the woods and the bus driver investigates and the kids later discover it's a mysterious creature that likes to hunt.
What happens to the driver and the killer? I'd give a multiple choice quiz, but it's not necessary.
The kids try to run for help and they run into a tunnel that leads into an underground abandoned place in which the creature can survive in darkness. They use their wits and debate on how they can defeat it.
The young cast does have a minute amount of charisma and camaraderie and the movie does use its creepy atmosphere to occasional effect, but the plot sticks to unoriginality and conventionality rather than giving us a scary good time.
At the beginning of the movie, there's a series of trees that block their way on the bus and the driver is forced to take, you guessed it, a shortcut. Let's face it: Characters in horror movies are rarely smart. They almost always have to make bad decisions for the convenience of the plot. Taking the shortcut is the example used of it being unoriginal.
At 80 minutes, Shortcut has hints throughout that it intends to frighten, but the story rushes hither and yarn and has no real ebb or flow to hold it together until the end.
Speaking of hints, the ending may provide a sequel. I'm not sure.
(Rated R for language throughout and some bloody images.)