Directed by Frank Sabatella.

Starring Jay Jay Warren, Cody Kostro, Sofia Happonen, Frank Whaley, Timothy Bottoms, Siobhan Fallon Hogan.

Horror, USA, 94 mins, cert 15.


Released in the UK on Digital HD by Signature Entertainment from May 11th.


Stan (Jay Jay Warren) is your typical angsty teen protagonist with a history of acting out and getting into trouble with the law. After the tragic loss of his beloved parents, he lives with his abusive grandfather in a quiet rural American town. He spends his time in the attic morosely looking at photos listening to sad music and hanging out with his slightly unhinged best friend Dommer (Cody Kostro).


Both are the frequent targets of the school bullies and adding insult to injury, their former friend and Stan's love interest Roxy (Sofia Happonen) is now associating with these unsavoury types. However, after Stan finds a ferocious vampire hiding out in his garden shed, well let's say this unexpected ghoulish guest presents a golden opportunity.


When watching THE SHED, one gets the sense that you have seen this all before and more originally done, especially when the fate of one character so vividly brings to mind the much more idiosyncratic and fun FRIGHT NIGHT. It's also guilty of non-ironically indulging in well-worn lazy genre clichés such as deploying the 'thinking you've woken up from a dream, but you're still in a dream' jump scare more than once.


The characters are recognisable stereotypes with little nuance to them. The bullies are just stock villains, and so it's hard to root for them when they get their comeuppance. The acting is decent, but no one manages to rise above their perfunctory dialogue.


For a film with the goofy title of THE SHED, it's surprisingly po-faced and dour for most of its running time. Had it fully embraced the camp ridiculousness of the central situation it could have been more entertaining. That said, the pulpier final act which contains one particularly well-executed gag during the climactic fight goes some way to rectifying things.


The makeup and practical effects are well done, with the vampires having a SALEM'S LOT vibe to them. It's nice to see this rather than cheap CGI, which is always less satisfying.


Best viewed with a group of friends over a few beers, as there are some effective crowd-pleasing beats, but overall, THE SHED as mentioned before isn't going to give you anything that you haven't seen before. However, it's competently made, easy to follow and not too grim, and so would make a good background film to dip into if you want an easily digestible horror fix. It's a decent film, but just needs that that little bit of extra bite.


John Upton.


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