Shuttle – movie review
Returning from a weekend jaunt, two young women, delayed by lost luggage, choose to get on the cheaper of two airport shuttle buses headed into town. Before long they notice that the driver has seemingly taken a wrong turn into the doldrums, and its from here that things start to get nasty for the night bus passengers.. .From the outset it’s clear that Shuttle is a very low budget affair. Peyton List from TV’s “Mad Men” plays the lead female, facing off against “Driver” Tony Curran – a character actor who to most UK audiences will always be the gay plumber from “This Life.” List works to make the most of her script here, whilst Curran seems oddly restrained and muted. Writer / Director Edward Anderson is canny enough to exploit his limited budget, keeping the bulk of the duration within the confines of the bus, with the occasional external action sequence.
There are many problems with this film, but the overwhelming issue is just that it is simply pretty boring: because we are locked inside this bland generic bus with the captives, we are stuck with nothing to look at but hysterical actors; we never see any thing of interest out of the windows. Perhaps this was a move on the director’s behalf to make us think “this could be anywhere – this could be MY town” but rather than engage, it simply leaves you cold. Equally limited by the intimate location, the camera work plumps for a gritty, handicam approach, but comes off feeling like a wobbly student production. Most jarringly of all, the characters themselves seem improbable and un-rounded: shouting advice at the screen is all part & parcel of a horror movie experience, but there are just too many lapses in judgement for us to be sympathetic for long.
Inevitably the unpleasantness escalates, yet at 104 minutes the film takes too long to get to where it wants to go, meandering tediously around narrative cul-de-sacs. The final segment of the film changes direction into something wholly more upsetting but it feels unearnt and contrived. I suspect that perhaps the creative team always had the closing sequence in mind and then wanted to build a story about how they got to that point.
“Shuttle” could be easily edited down to an hour long tv drama and would be quite watchable, but it is just too unengaging to be allowed the amount of screen time it demands.