The Shortcut (2009)

Genre(s): Horror
Anchor Bay || PG13 - 85 minutes - $26.97 || September 29, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-10-05

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Nicholaus Goossen
Writer(s): Dan Hannon and Scott Sandler (screenplay)
Cast: Drew Seeley, Shannon Woodward, Dave Franco, Katrina Bowden

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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.::THE FILM::.

Thatís right fans, another horror movie was sent to me, the king of horror here, to review. After my past ten or so crappy horror films, I was excited for The Shortcut, which was produced by Scary Madison, a sub-company of Happy Madison. For those unaware, Happy Madison is responsible for such great films like Grandmaís Boy... and Iím sure others. That will probably clue you in to the quality of the film I was forced to watch, and now subsequently inform you about.

Derek (Andrew Seeley) and his brother Tobey (Nicholas Elia) have just moved to their town about two months ago. Back in the day, there was an area known as ďthe shortcutĒ (horrible movie tie-in that occurs throughout) where people would disappear, and now it seems that dogs are as well. One day while walking through the shortcut on a dare from some dumb kids at school, Tobey encounters an Old Man (Raymond J. Barry) who he thinks killed a dog. He finds the dog split in half with blood pouring out of its stomach, and runs at the sight. The man threatens him to never come back again or else heíll be next. Derek, obviously upset by this, blabs to his friends about it.

That causes the resident dumb jock Taylor (Josh Emerson) to question about the missing dog, and Derek and him go into the woods. Thereís also some stupid plot point about Derekís friend Lisa (Shannon Woodward) being a gambler and taking money from the students, but since it doesnít go anywhere it doesnít matter. Thereís also her boyfriend Mark (Dave Franco) who is a complete idiot and a waste of time and money to talk about. Time for me, money that he was paid to be in this tragedy. So Derek and Taylor go into the woods, encounter trouble, get shot at by the old man, and then decide they need to break in the house. Will the kids solve the murder mystery of the shortcut, or will most of them die and some stupid twist get revealed that was obvious from the start?

Itís the latter, for those wondering if you couldnít tell already from the sarcasm. Normally I do a body count, kill count, or something combining the two to give you some entertainment while reading the review. But since this was so awful I couldnít bring myself to do it and screw up my world famous (and patent pending) kill/body count chart.

The acting is so horrible in this movie I wanted to cry. Emerson is such a joke trying to play the dumb jock. His character is so one-sided that I didnít even care what happened to him, nor the rest of the cast. The ending was so predictable that I managed to figure it out at the first flashback scene what would happen. Yes, this movie has stupid flashbacks that make no sense until the end, and even then I doubt you will care.

The plot sucks, the cast is wooden, and the gorgeous Shannon Woodward is miscast, yet again, in this debacle. Can someone get her a new agent?


Commentary with Nicholaus Goossen: This has to be Goossenís first commentary ever, as he is probably the most monotone and dull commentator ever. I was nearly put to sleep listening to this track, so you can skip it. He does highlight some of the background scenery, the cast, etc, but itís not interesting enough to maintain a strict viewing of in hopes to have some enjoyment out of it.

Lastly, you can view the trailer for the film if you so choose to.


From the first few scenes, I could tell I was in for a doozy of a transfer. Colors just look plain diluted the entire runtime, as blues are favored heavily in nearly every scene. This creates a terrible picture which caused me to have to struggle to see the screen on multiple occasions. Grain, noise, distortion. Pick any of the three aforementioned items and even more problems will be written about. Grain is abundant in most of the scenes, noise is prominent as well, and wouldnít you know it distortion is too. Besides a crappy script, the transfer needed some serious work done on it too.

The Dolby Surround 5.1 track isnít much better. The track is fairly light which hurts the dialogue quality and the surround sound usage while watching the film. Dialogue itself is too light and doesnít contain any sort of booming quality that makes it redeemable, only condemnable. The surround use isnít really there either. Even during the action or shock sequences, while there arenít that many to judge based upon, sound lame and almost as bad as the dialogue. Does anyone these days screen the audio quality before releasing or is a track just thrown at random on DVDís?


The Shortcut is an honest attempt at creating PG-13 horror films that the whole family can enjoy. The previous sentence has all sorts of wrong in it, just like the movie. Itís predictable, not violent, and itís just not any fun to watch. The twist at the end can be seen coming and the acting is so horrible I thought I was back in high school watching the crappy play that all schools put on. The technical package is below-average, and the special features aside from a dull commentary are non-existent. This is a shortcut to never take, even for free.