REVIEW: ‘Shortcut’ isn’t a satisfying horror genre entry

There’s no need to take a shortcut to the theater for “Shortcut,” because it’s not worth seeing at a cinema.

This thriller follows a group of teenage students riding on a bus in a rural area of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately the audience doesn’t get much background on the group, there are only five students which is odd for a field trip. Regardless, this is our crew of protagonists.

Things take a turn for the worse when the bus has to take a back road and, while stopping to move an obstacle out of the way, a criminal with a revolver comes aboard and holds the driver at gunpoint. That’s not the end of the main characters’ problems, though, as the eerie area they’re driving through also seems to be home to an evil creature.

“Shortcut” is a weak effort, and it certainly isn’t worth the price of a theater ticket. Despite taking the audience into a twist with what the main threat will be, “Shortcut” remains mostly by-the-books.

The story also feels rather immature. With the way things develop here, one would think they’re watching a movie for 12 or 13 year olds, like a tier above “Goosebumps.” Yet because of a boatload of swearing, this thing received an R rating, which will be unsatisfying for most horror fans.

Courtesy Play Entertainment and Gravitas Ventures.

On top of a rather generic story, “Shortcut” fails excessively as a movie meant to scare. There’s practically nothing frightening here, and absolutely no blood or gore. If you’re going to have a B-movie that doesn’t deliver in the screenplay, you may as well pick it up in making it bloody. That didn’t happen here, though.

The movie is a let down when it comes to the characters, too. This is a lower-budget effort, and in all fairness, the cast gives it a good try. However, the characters are 100% stereotypes. There’s the funny one, the smart one, the edgy one, the leader, you get the idea.

Even as a movie that’s just free with a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon, it would be tough to recommend “Shortcut.” It’s impossible to recommend someone actually going out to a theater to see this, though.

B-grade horror movies can work, but it has to have some things to win over an audience. Despite an engaged cast and some fun sets, “Shortcut” falls flat. 1.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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