Monday, October 12, 2009

Watch Out For Crazy Old Men

The Shortcut 2009
Director: Nicholaus Goossen
Writers: Dan Hannon and Scott Sandler
Starring Andrew Seeley, Shannon Woodward, Dave Franco, Katrina Bowden, Raymond J. Barry, Wendy Anderson, Nicholas Elia and William B. Davis

This is one of those films that looked interesting but it just seemed another by the numbers backwoods horror film. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this was a original and surprising little horror film. If anything this film is like a combination of Wrong Turn and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. It is low on the gore, but makes up for it in mood and characterization. This is the first film by Scary Madison, the new horror film company spearheaded by Adam Sandler. It is a film with a slow burn on what is happening but once it gets going it doesn't let go till the shocking ending, which I did not see coming but there were hints all through the film that it was ending this way.
The plot basics are this, Derek (Seeley) has moved into this small town along with his little brother (Elias) and his mom (Anderson). He is trying to acclimate himself and he has some friends, Mark (Franco) and Lisa (Woodward). His little brother takes a shortcut due to peer pressure and discovers a mutilated dog and a weird old man (Barry) finds him and threatens him. He tells Derek and he goes to investigate it with the help of his friends and a jock who thinks the mutilated dog is his. Slowly, he finds out that no one uses this shortcut because of some horrible things that happened years ago. Derek ropes a girl (Bowden) into helping him pursue what is going on and things keep getting weirder and more diabolical. It all leads to what is behind all the disappearances of dogs and people and Derek will not like what he discovers and who ends up dead along the way.
This was a great little horror film. The direction by Goossen is great, at times it is very funny and at other times downright tense and suspenseful. He lays out the action scenes flawlessly. The script is good too, I like how it is inter cut with flashbacks on what leads up to the main story. You really get a feeling for the villains and have sympathy for them. Except for Derek and his brother none of the other characters are very sympathetic so, you know they are fodder for the killer. The cast is very good, Seeley and Elias really perform well and a special shout out goes to Barry who gives a great performance of dread and pity at the same time. The SFX is very well executed, nice dead dog scene and the neck breaking scene was bad ass. The ending of this film will make you go whoa and that is something I rarely see in horror films nowadays. Definitely seek this one out.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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