The Shortcut (2009)

September 23, 2009 - 8:55pm | EC
  Tags: Adam Sandler, anchor bay, Andrew Seeley, Cavan Cunningham, Dave Franco, DVD, Josh Emerson, Katrina Bowden, kids, Nicholas Elia, Nicholaus Goosen, Rob Roy, Scott Lyster, Shannon Jardine, Shannon Marie Woodward, shortcut

Your rating: None Average: 7 (5 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

Rating #: 
Nicholaus Goossen
Andrew Seeley, Shannon Woodward, Dave Franco, Katrina Bowden, Raymond Barry, William Davis

For the past fifteen years the Adam Sandler owned company Happy Madison has focused entirely on making us laugh. The company has brought giggles from films like "Paul Blart", "Deuce Bigalow", "Mr. Deeds" and the countless Sandler vehicles such as "Click", "50 First Dates", etc. Who would have guessed the comic genius would have an eye for the macabre? Adam Sandler and his brother Scott have teamed up for the very first Scary Madison (yep, you read right) release, a thrill ride through "The Shortcut".

This film is actually co-written by Scott Sandler himself and went directly to DVD domestically. Sandler proves to be quite a talent, with the script and writing absolutely fantastic here. One of the most refreshing ingredients in Sandler's recipe is the excellent roles created for the teen characters. This script is a more realistic and positive reflection of today's teens, one that isn't just doom and gloom with a tummy of alcohol. No, instead Sandler creates characters that are life-like, almost a positive reflection that is endearing at times. I cared about the fates of the characters and felt that the writing and direction really had that as a primary goal to begin with. Rob Zombie should watch this film.

The story focuses on a teen and his little brother and their orientation into a new town. The two stumble upon a town legend, a spooky little wooded area that is deemed "The Shortcut". Apparently there were some murders committed there in the past and the infamous real estate is now off limits. The youngest sibling takes the stroll on a dare and finds a creepy old man and a dead dog. In tears he relates the story to his older brother, who then grabs some school kids and heads for the woods to uncover the secret.

Director Nicholaus Goosson does everything just right, mingling scenes from the '50s era with current events to create a good piece of cross history. This is important as the past is certainly very important in determining the fates of the present characters and the core of the mystery. The movie has a fast pace and remains very interesting throughout. This is certainly not a blood drenched thriller nor is it particularly scary or violent. In some ways it reminded me of Jack Ketchum's "Red" crossed with a more PG flavor.

Main star Andrew Seeley is a charismatic talent, resembling a young Paul Walker ("Fast And The Furious"). His on screen chemistry is with hottie Katrina Bowden, with the two creating a real heartfelt emotion that is really lacking in most horror films. "X-Files" fans will enjoy the presence of "cigarette smoking man" William Davis and "senator" Raymond Barry.

The reason for the 8 rating is the movie just isn't that scary or horrific. Sandler proves to be a great writer and emphasizes realistic teen dialogue, an against-the-grain approach that showcases a more positive attitude from today's youth. The story was really solid and developed into a winning result that should please most viewers. The ending certainly throws a twist that may have been better served scratched from the final product. This is a great family styled horror movie that is okay for the young adult market. Oh....and the smashed hand scene is a must see.

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