28th Sep2013

‘Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1’ Review

by Phil Wheat


26 films. Six strict rules: choose from one of six existing titles, make their film no more than three minutes long, spend no more than £666, harnessing no more than six cast, six crew, six lines of dialogue and just six hours of shooting time.

The result? Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1

Frightfest has always been synonymous with the short film – after all, one of the mainstays of the festival has been the short film showcase. However this year the festival took it to a whole new level, with a national talent search: The Frightfest 666 Short Cuts To Hell competition.

Put together by British film outfit Movie Mogul in association with FrightFest and Horror Channel, Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1, the culmination of the talent search, features the 26 best short films from the competition – in an anthology that easily rivals the likes of V/H/S and The ABC’s of Death. In fact I’d go as far as saying that this collection of shorts easily outshines the much-hyped ABCs… Proving that you don’t need big-name talent to make a great film.

And that’s the greatest message you can take away from Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1. There’s talent out there, making great horror, telling great stories – and competitions and releases like this serve well to give the great filmmakers we have here in Blighty some decent exposure. Judging by the majority of the shorts present in this anthology, the future of UK horror is bright, very bright… Interestingly, for an anthology movie with so many shorts within it, there are more wins than losses, the good easily outshine the handful of bad – and the bad aren’t that bad either! Yes, the level of quality in Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1 is so high that even the lesser films are merely “average”, there’s no truly bad shorts in the mix whatsoever – unlike some big-budget anthologies I could mention!

The films themselves range from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the atmospheric to the all-out gorefest. And as a fan of 80s horror cinema it’s nice to know I’m not alone – there are a number of 80s-influenced shorts, including nods to the likes of Night of the Creeps and The Evil Dead. There’s also a great mix of serious and light-hearted subject matter, which essentially means you’ll never get bored – and half the time you’ll never know what you’re going to get, putting the element of surprise back into the dark heart of horror. Oh, and the last short? the neon infused, Demons-inspired nightmare that ends the film? Seriously one of the best shorts I’ve seen in quite some time…

A refreshing, bold entry in the horror anthology sub-genre, Shortcuts to Hell: Volume 1 is available on iTunes and BlinkBox now.

***** 5/5

Check out the trailer below:


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