The Shed Review
'The Shed' throws back to a time when vampires were still cool.
Release Date: November 15, 2019
MPAA Rating: NR
Stan lives with his abusive grandfather and tries to protect his best friend from high school bullies. When he discovers a murderous creature has taken refuge inside his tool shed, he tries to battle the demon alone until his bullied friend discovers the creature and has a far more sinister plan.
Director: Frank Sabatella
Screenwriter: Frank Sabatella
Producers: Peter Block, Cory Neal
Cast: Jay Jay Warren (Stan), Cody Kostro (Dommer), Sofia Happonen (Orxy), Frank Whaley (Bane), Sean King (Bane), Timothy Bottoms (Ellis), Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Sheriff Dorney), Chris Petrovski (Marble), Francisco Burgos (Pitt), Uly Schlesinger (Ozzy), Mu-Shaka Benson (Deputy Haiser), Drew Moore (Mr. Deere), Caroline Duncan (Kathleen), Sal Rendino (Robert), Damian Norfleet (Ancient Vampire)
Cinematographer: Matthias Schubert
Production Designer: Diana Rice
Casting Director: Lois J. Drabkin
Music Score: Sam Ewing
Unfortunately for the horror world, vampires are just about as worn out of an archetype as zombies. Audiences have seen it all. And even when a movie comes around that does have an interesting vampire premise, it can still feel stale, simply because, hey, it’s vampires. The Shed is this type of movie.
The Shed is about a young man named Stan (Jay Jay Warren from “Bosch”) who, through a fortunate (or unfortunate) series of events, winds up with a vampire trapped in his backyard shed. After a few chance encounters with the bloodsucker, Stan realizes how dangerous the situation is, and tries to come up with a plan to destroy the beast. But, his best friend Dommer (Cody Kostro from “City on a Hill”) has other ideas for the undead creature.
The brainchild of writer/director Frank Sabatella (Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet), The Shed has a great premise. Stan is a victim of bullying, to the extent that even his pal Dommer is kind of a jerk to him. The only character who is even partially nice to him is his bully’s girlfriend Roxy (Sofia Happonen from “Women of a Certain Age”), because she herself is a victim of a different kind of abuse. So, basically, the idea that a downtrodden kid can get revenge on his oppressors is a fun and relatable one, particularly in a horror movie.
The problem is that The Shed never feels like it fully gets rolling. Sure, the vampire makes a few kills and Stan freaks out a lot, but there’s never a master plan that is unleashed upon the bullies of the world. The audience is constantly wondering when the meat of the movie is going to start, and it never does. It’s a dream that isn’t realized, so all that is left is a bunch of wasted potential bathed in brainless dialogue.
There’s a strong retro vibe to The Shed, and it would be a good pairing with Fright Night or The Lost Boys for a double or triple feature. That’s the movie’s big strength; Sabatella nails the eighties wide-eyed teen fascination with the unknown. As a modern nostalgia piece, The Shed excels. As a standalone movie, not so much.
There are very few actual scares in The Shed. And there’s even less gore. What the movie does have is a manufactured suspense, fairly effective, but not at all organic. Much of the tension revolves around the same gimmick of venturing in and out of the shed, avoiding the vampire while doing it, and it quickly gets tired. By the time the sun sets and the vampire can leave the confines of its wooden prison, there’s nothing left for the audience to be afraid of. The Shed isn’t going to keep anyone awake at night, but at least it doesn’t resort to leaning on cheap jump scares the whole time.