“Some urban legends are real.” Yeah, real dull. I admit freely that I’m an optimist when it comes to horror movies. I always try to accentuate the positive, particularly when it comes to the works of novice filmmakers. Somewhere amidst the dreck and detritus, I can find something to praise, some aspect of the production that shows signs of promise. When it comes to The Shortcut, I’ve got my work cut out for me. It fails on so many levels, that it’s practically impossible to find anything that resembles a silver lining.

For one thing, it’s a “Happy Madison” production, which means that Adam Sandler’s people had a hand in it. The script was co-written by Scott Sandler, no doubt one of Adam’s poor relations who’s grown disillusioned with his future prospects in the food service industry. Beware the evil shadow of nepotism…

There’s nothing remotely terrifying or even mysterious about The Shortcut. A group of high school kids explore a path through the woods that’s earned a sinister reputation. They encounter a crazy old man (Raymond Barry), who was once the son of a very wealthy and prominent family. While searching for a missing dog, they find the man’s house and decide to break in. Some of the kids learn a valuable lesson about the consequences of their actions.

There’s very little gore, few killings, no nudity, and no supernatural elements. In other words,”Why bother?” I wish I could answer that. There’s a straight-outta-left-field plot twist at the very end of the movie, but by that time, you won’t give a shit. Writer Scott Sandler lacks even the most rudimentary of storytelling skills. I’ve seen pet food commercials that were fraught with more tension. Avoid at all costs.

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