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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Review: Shortcut

Director: Alessio Liguori

Screenplay: Daniele Cosci

Year: 2020

Some movies make an effort to introduce the plot about to be shown to the viewer, while others abruptly start and later explain what is going on. “Shortcut” just starts. Five teenagers in a strange bus that we are never sure if it’s from a school or any other sort of transportation, along with the diver heading someplace. The destination or purpose of the trip is a mystery we never get to solve. On their way to their undefined destination, the driver decides to take a shortcut, which ends up being a bad idea. 

In this shortcut, the teenagers and the driver meet a man, that armed with a gun, holds them hostage, and forces them to drive him to another undefined destination. The plot could have worked fine without this character, but unfortunately, it is not the only thing lacking sense or importance in the plot, which is developed itself around a nonsense trip. Beyond what it could add to the plot, this character seems like a catalyst for showing the protagonists’ personalities, although it fails to add any additional information to what already shows from their physical appearances.

Not long after this character is introduced, they all end up stranded inside a tunnel after the bus has a mechanical failure, where they meet a dangerous creature and where it feels like the movie actually begins. At this stage, the main issue with “Shortcut” has already been established, and there is only a long road of the same ahead. Instead of a coherent movie, the director Alessio Liguori (“In The Trap”) seems to want to tie together a collection of ideas turned scenes or shots that, on their own, can be interesting, but together create an incoherent disaster.

Not everything in “Shortcut” is a mess, although nothing really stands out. As mentioned. behind all the nonsense, there are many good ideas that fail mainly because they are not developed in a logical way in the plot rather than by their quality or creativity. The creature and the special effects and makeup look fairly good, and it has several scenes with high artistic value. The acting is its strongest argument, although sometimes they feel somewhat exaggerated.

“Shortcut” has many good ideas without any sort of coherent connection between them, to the extent that not even the reason for the trip that sets all the events in motion is explained. What could have been a good adventure and horror movie with a coming of age undertone ends up giving the impression that it was rushed and not enough care was put into polishing the script. The creature design, acting, and cinematography are the movie’s highlights, while the plot and its development are a disaster.

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