THE SHED (2019)
Written and Directed by Frank Sabatella
As though he doesn’t have enough to deal with after the death of his parents, teenager Stan struggles with the high school bullies but he’s got bigger fish to fry when a bloodthirsty creature decides to take up residence in his shed.
After BLOOD NIGHT: THE LEGEND OF MARY HATCHET, writer/director Frank Sabatella is back with THE SHED, a good, old-fashioned horror that takes the feel of 80’s vampire flicks and brings them into the 21st century.
After the death of his parents, teenager Stan is living with his strict grandfather in his farmhouse and life isn’t exactly going great. The girl he fancies at school is now hanging out with the school bully, Marble, who just so happens to torment Stan and his mate Dommer on a near daily basis. So when he comes home to find something or someone lurking in his grandfather’s shed, he sends in the dog to go get it with bone-crunching consequences. Freaking out, he has no choice but to tell his abusive grandfather Ellis who decides to venture into the shed and sort it out himself despite Stan’s pleas. As you can imagine, this doesn’t end well for Ellis and suddenly Stan finds himself more alone than he’s ever felt. Unable to tell the authorities, as that would result in him being taken into care or back to borstal, he’s stuck with a ticking time bomb in his shed that he must conceal whilst trying to cover the fact that his sole guardian has been ripped to shreds.
THE SHED feels as much of a coming-of-age story as it does a horror tale. Dealing with his own loss, of his parents, his happy childhood and innocence, and facing what appears to be an uphill struggle wherever he turns, is hardening and developing who Stan will be as a man. His uninvited guest causes issues, of course, but it’s how he deals with this killer creature that sets him apart from those around him, such as his friend Dommer. Whilst this is one side of the film’s story, which does take up 70% of the film’s running time, it eventually falls into traditional genre fare as Stan does battle with the creature as the film builds up towards the head-on climax.
Utilising practical FX with just a smidgen of CGI, the creature isn’t as much a mystery as I’m letting on in this review. In fact, the opening scenes introduce us to what exactly Stan is dealing with and the initial glimpses of the creature are impressive. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see as much of it as the film progresses until the latter end of the film and when it does appear again it doesn’t have quite the malice or chilling appearance as first witnessed.
In a film that clearly wants to have fun as a 80’s-style teen horror film, it feels as though the focus on the social problems of Stan is perhaps a tad too much to the point that the movie feels absorbed by it. When the good versus wicked battle does occur against the creature hiding in the shed, it feels rushed and delivered too late in the day to have the desired effect. It almost feels out of place too, as though we’re watching a different movie to the one we’ve been sitting through, with the tone and plot shifting suddenly as things in Stan’s life unravel to the point of no return. As a result of this, the film ramps up the fear factor in the final 20 minutes but never seems to quite pack the punch it’s looking to deliver.
Sabatella sure has some storytelling chops and is able to reflect the pressures and strain of growing up but unfortunately THE SHED lacks bite in the scare department despite a strong first half showing.