MARCH 12, 2009
I must be slipping in my old age. Not only was I not aware that Shuttle had been playing all week at the Sunset 5 (same theater I was at not two weeks ago for Repo), but I didn’t even know that it was shot in Boston (where I’m from) AND that my best friend did the makeup FX work! Jesus Christ, at this rate, by the time I’m forty I’ll forget about looking at the IMDb entirely.
A couple of friends said that Shuttle was terrible and mocked me for going, but I actually thought it was pretty good (though I DO wish I had waited for DVD, since that’s what the theater was projecting, so it looked like ass). Its only real flaw was length. The first two acts are pretty tight - the girls get on the shuttle in the first ten minutes, and it’s not long after that the driver (Tony Curran) reveals his intentions. But once the van arrives at its destination, where the final thirty minutes or so take place, the movie loses steam. It’s the same problem Red Eye and the Assault On Precinct 13 remake had - if you’re going to have an enclosed location for your entire movie, you can’t have the finale take place somewhere else? It would be like if the end of Die Hard took place in Burbank for some reason. And worse, these scenes go on forever, as our two female leads stop the movie cold in order to have a confessional scene that ultimately serves no purpose. Writer/director Edward Anderson makes up for it with an impressively grim ending (with a truly mean-spirited visual punchline), but it still hurts the movie’s overall quality.
But I was impressed with how they managed to keep the movie from getting too dumb. I mean, you gotta allow some suspension of disbelief for the movie to work at all (Boston is seemingly closed; you never see a single other car or pedestrian in the entire movie), but the various ways of explaining why no one yells “Let’s roll!” and tackle the driver as a group are pretty valid. The driver has been doing this for five years, and you figure that by now he has thought of every possible action a would-be victim would take, and planned accordingly (plus, without spoiling anything further, let’s just say that the fact that since the movie didn’t fall into the same trap many survival horror films do, I was willing to forgive some of its lapses). There’s also a pretty great plot twist halfway through that I must admit I didn’t see coming.
Also, I believe this has to be the first movie in which a character holds HERSELF at knifepoint in order to get the upper hand on her attacker. It’s a wonderfully odd image. And lead actress Peyton List is cute as hell, not to mention believable. Like my beloved Rachel Nichols in P2, she’s not as stupid as some of her survival horror sisthren, and there’s a nice bit of foreshadowing that you think is simply serving as character development that impressed me. Considering how utterly fucking stupid many low budget “survival” horror movies turn out, the fact that any of the writing impressed me at all was shocking.
Oh and my friend’s FX were pretty damn good, though the shit projection kept me from seeing them properly. Since the horror/violence content was pretty minimal (there’s only six people in the entire movie), he didn’t get to show off too much, but some severed fingers and a ghastly head wound were aces. Proud of ya!
With some tightening and slightly better production value, this would be a pretty great movie I think. It’s impressively suspenseful, fairly well acted, and refreshingly light on “torture” (the one such act in the film - a blowtorch removal of a tattoo - occurs off-screen entirely, and is actually related to the plot). And even though the third act drags, it never actually got boring. Plus it offers not one but TWO dudes getting run over, so there’s something. The poster, on the other hand, fucking sucks - it somewhat spoils the third act. Don't look at it!
What say you?