(Shannon Woodward, Dave Franco, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2009 / Anchor Bay)
Overview: Just behind the grammar school and past the ‘No Trespassing’ sign is the shortcut through the woods that nobody dares to take: People in town still whisper about the creepy old guy who lives back there and the kids that disappeared near his home a long time ago. Now a group of high school seniors has decided to find out just what the shovel-wielding weirdo may be hiding. But even if they can uncover his shocking secret, will they survive what happens when the truth is finally unleashed?
DVD Verdict: Sure this look(ed)/is another less-than B-movie viewing experience, but this low-budget horror movie actually is a little better than that ... and yet still one you've never heard of! Buckets of fake blood at the ready, high pitched screams raring to go from the lungs, and a helm credit that reads Scary Madison (yup, while he goes uncredited, Adam Sandler is responsible for this film!), all means that together with James Franco's younger brother Dave as one of the movie's co-stars, 'The Shortcut' got off its marks with air!
That said, and revealing everything here, it's most likely that Scary Madison got involved due to the fact that Adam's brother Scott is the co-writer! That and the fact that Scott also hired his 'Grandma's Boy' cohort Nicholaus Goossen to direct, and, well, you can already see how this project (kinda) came together ... monetarily!
Involving some nice, rich characters, 'The Shortcut' may well have some semi-decent (kinda stretching that but run with it for now) actors in the roles, but dude, the overall written teenage dialogue here is over-the-top geek, painfully performed, and so full of holes you wonder which '70s kids TV show they were watching at the time they wrote the crap!
As for what story line (per sue) to expect, well, the film gives us the usual jock (Josh Emerson), a man-for-all-seasons male role model (Andrew Seeley), the obligatory female (Shannon Woodward), and a couple of others only-there-to-be-killed-first characters! Built around a house bricked to the max with cliches (some of which don't even mysteriously reach their own potential) for the most part the characters play things out accordingly.
And so, and with all that said, 'The Shortcut' does have a lightness about its flow. It doesn't have a long run time, the characters aren't too mired down in their paid day job, and as much as none possess any real genuine personality, at least come the end you feel sorry (kinda) for a couple! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
Behind the Scenes featurette