We all knew it had to happen eventually. With the success of the “torture porn” films like the Hostel and Saw series, we had to expect that there would be some lightweight twists and turns on the thriving genre. Shuttle is one of those attempts. It gingerly treads on the now familiar ground of the aforementioned films, but each time it makes the obvious moves in that direction, it pulls back and stalls. Edward Anderson is the writer and director of this mess. It was first attempt at either, and it shows, very badly. He couldn’t decide if he was making a traditional slasher film or one of the more trendy “torture porn” exorcises. So, he ends up doing neither effectively.
The setup was pretty much what we’ve already seen a hundred times. Two young women are on their way home from a Mexican vacation. It hasn’t been going all that well, and the plane ride back to the States was bumpy and plagued by horrible weather. Mel (List) is apparently engaged, and Jules (Goodman) is apparently her best friend. It’s late, and they just want to get home. They opt to accept a ride from a shuttle driver (Curran), who offers to take them for half price, instead of accepting a ride from two guys they just met. They figure the shuttle would be safer. But, of course, if that were true we couldn’t have 106 minutes of movie. By the time this hell ride is over you’re gonna wish they’d just taken the offered ride. The girls would be home safely in their beds, or perhaps the guys’ beds, and your life would now be 100 minutes or so longer to do some of those things you’ve promised yourself needed to be done.
The entire ride is overly predictable. Of course, the van driver is not what he seems, and he has now trapped his lovely passengers for his own nefarious purpose. Most of the film is made up of the various battles between the good guys and the bad guys. There’s the expected back and forth balance of power and the predictable “surprise” revelations. None of which are terribly original or surprising. The characters are completely stock. They make the typical idiotic decisions. Anderson treats his audience as if they’ve never seen a horror film before. He revels in his self-described clever twists and turns as if he’s just now invented the conventions. When we finally do find out why the driver wants these girls, it’s almost a letdown. It’s creepy, only because there is a real world analog. But, for the most part you’ll be disappointed because Anderson wasted your time.
Shuttle is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The picture is almost always too dark. Black levels are only average, so there isn’t enough shadow definition to fully make out all of the action. When there are a couple of well lit scenes everything is white, so there isn’t any real contrast to the film at all. When it’s dark, everything is dark. When it’s light, everything is light. There is some mild digital compression artifact to contend with. The level of grain appears to increase as the film moves along. I’m not quite sure I understand the cause of this. Either way it will reach distracting levels combined with the artifact. The print looks in good shape, however. I found no evidence of print damage or flaws.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very inconsistent. Dialog is clear at times and then very low and unclear at other times. There is likely some serious mix issues between ADR work (if there was any) and material recorded on location. There’s almost no use of surround channels at all. The sub spent most of the film napping soundly.
Behind The Scenes: Five minutes of cast and crew talking about the movie. The sound and picture here appears camcorder quality.
Deleted Scenes: If you thought the movie was bad, these scenes are worse. It doesn’t help that the quality is really bad.
Casting Sessions: This nearly half hour feature contains the audition tapes of each of the main actors. Who wants to spend another half hour looking at really bad versions of really bad scenes?
Long story short: Skip it! You won’t find anything on this Shuttle ride you haven’t seen done far better before. Trust me when I tell you that this shuttle ride is a long and tedious affair. “And once you go, you never come back.”