"Reel Reviews: ‘Shortcut’ proves some roads less traveled for reason" by: Jessica Shepard

   As we roll into the spookiest month of the year I’ve got high hopes for most horror or thriller movies slated to debut.
   It just makes more sense to put scary movies in October than it does the whole rest of the year.
   I mean, there’s very little room for success during the spring and summer months or the winter holiday season.
   Not to mention that COVID-19 has made things worse and harder to keep to a regular theatrical release schedule.
   I snagged an early afternoon spot to watch “Shortcut” and unfortunately, it’s a very low budget British film with a cheesy monster and no real resolution.
   In fact, if you’re looking for legit British scares, check out “An American Werewolf in London,” “The Woman in Black,” or “28 Days Later.
   Shortcut feels more like a mash up of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and the famed “Harry Potter” series with less magic and more whiny teenagers.
   We start out with our group of teens on a bus ride home from school in an antique vehicle on a dirt road.
   Granted, they’re out in a rural landscape which is STUNNING, but, that’s about all there is to it.
   The film stars Zak Sutcliffe, Molly Dew, Jack Kane, Sophie Oliver, Andrei Claude, Zander Emlano and Terence Anderson.
   Catholic school students Reggie (Sutcliffe), Queenie (Dew), Nolan (Kane), Bess (Oliver) and Karl (Emlano) are riding home with bus driver Joseph (Anderson) at the helm of their antique bus.
   Joseph encounters a downed tree blocking their usual route home and tries to move it himself to no avail.
   Once he gets back on the bus, he remembers a shortcut and turns around to take it instead.
   The students notice how the atmosphere and idyllic landscape around them changes into a foggy and quite menacing woods.
   At the same time, the bus’ radio is recounting details of the lunar eclipse for that night and how it’s the last one for another decade.
   But, as the bus gets deeper on the wooded path, the sun is setting behind them quickly and the radio starts going out.
   Follow that with a sudden stop to move a dead deer out of the way and there’s a slowly-encroaching sense of dread.
   Joseph is barely able to drag the carcass off into the woods when he’s held up by an obviously mad homeless man with a revolver.
   The man urges Joseph back to the bus and forces him to start driving again as the night creeps in and darkness crowds the buss along with the spooky woods.
   While driving, we notice a sign that declares the upcoming area as a former military installation area, most likely a fort – but we don’t have any details just yet.
   In the middle of the manmade tunnel, the bus gives up the ghost and dies; though the battery works enough to keep the lights on and nothing else.
   That’s where we get introduced to the monster that lurks in the dark, but, it drags on forever and leads to a half-baked plan to escape.
   The film itself is rated R for language throughout and some bloody images and clocks in at 80 minutes. 
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