Review: THE SHED (2019) – Brooklyn Horror Film Festival

The Shed Festival

Not to be confused with Shed, or Shed Of The Dead, writer/director Frank Sabatella’s debut feature The Shed is one we’ve been hearing about since last year. It recently made its premiere at Stiges and its North American debut at this year’s Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

A tale of high school bullying and revenge recast as a monster movie The Shed has garnered some positive attention. Horror films with messages attached to them have a spotty track record. To often they can’t find the balance between scary and serious. Is it deserving of that praise?

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The Shed begins in a conventional enough manner. Bane (Frank Whaley, Cold Moon, Vacancy) is chased through the woods a cape-wearing creature that takes a bite out of him before the rising sun turns it to ashes. Alive but feeling the sun’s effects as well he takes shelter in a nearby tool shed.

As if Stan (Jay Jay Warren) doesn’t have enough problems, that shed belongs to his grandfather Ellis (Timothy Bottoms, The Last Picture Show, Parasomnia). Ellis is an abusive old bastard and Stan, an orphan, is stuck living with him. He’s got a bit of a past which has the cops on him constantly. He and best friend Dommer (Cody Kostro) are regularly the target of bullies. And to top it all off their one other friend Roxy (Sofia Happonen) has been accepted by the in-crowd and ditched them.

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So when he discovers something is living in the shed he’s understandably not happy. The cops aren’t likely to believe a vampire ate his grandfather. And even if they did he would still get sent back to a juvenile facility. And that’s the last thing he wants. He makes plans to destroy it. Dommer, however, has plans of his own.

Sabatella makes sure that The Shed is, first and foremost, a horror film. It takes its tale of modern-day vampirism seriously and gives us some nicely done scenes of creeping around in the dark as well as jump scares. It does over do it with the dream sequences. The one with Roxy in black leather does make nice eye candy. Though if it was my dream it wouldn’t be her holding the flogger.

Not as appealing to the eye are The Shed’s vampires. They’re never called that, but it’s obvious that’s what they are. There’s even a stake worked into the opening titles. They reminded me a bit of the ones from 30 Days Of Night with their ruthless nature, incredible strength and a mouth full of shark-like teeth.

The bullying angle works as a subplot. It helps drive the story while making a point but never becomes the film’s main focus. The final act drops it entirely in favor of a more conventional plotline. And that’s as it should be. The Shed says what it needs to say then ends on a tense, and occasionally funny, note.

The Shed is scheduled for release in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on Nov15th by RLJE Films.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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