Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2019)
Studios always use filmmakers’ other credits to tout movies. Thus we see hype lines such as “from the director of…” or “from the author of…” attached to many flicks.
When “from the executive producer of…” becomes the best they can do, we’re in trouble. Even though that was the promo bit for 2019’s The Shed, I still thought the film looked interesting enough to give it a go.
While out in the woods, a hunter named Joe Bane (Frank Whaley) gets bitten by a vampire. With nowhere else to go, he takes up residence in a remote shed so he can hide during daylight hours.
This building resides on the property owned by Ellis (Timothy Bottoms), an elderly man who lives with his grandson Stan (Jay Jay Warren). In high school, Stan’s pal Dommer (Cody Kostro) deals with bullies, and Stan tries his best to protect Dommer.
Eventually Stan and Dommer discover the bloodthirsty creature in the shed. Though Stan wants to kill it, feels they can use it to their advantage to get revenge on everyone who picked on him.
After a peak maybe 10 years ago, the vampire craze seems to have waned quite a lot. Zombie flicks overtook it and became the preferred source of monster mania.
That doesn’t mean vampire tales died, and on the surface, Shed offers potential to bring something fresh to the genre. The idea of “vampire as pet/object of vengeance” seems clever.
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do as much with its themes as one might hope, partly because it really takes its title literally. Most of the action revolves around the titular shed, so we don’t get a broader sense of the world beyond that.
In terms of story domains, this makes some sense since the vampire can’t emerge during daylight, but why not let the teens bring him out at night? It seems like a more creative tale would find a way to use the monster in a more engaging manner.
Instead, Bane stays in that shed, and all the action comes to him. This doesn’t become especially involving, as the restricted set of locations tamps down most of the potential suspense.
Shed attempts to become something more than just a horror flick, and on the surface, I admire that ambition. The film looks at the effects of trauma, abuse and bullying, elements that should add depth to the proceedings.
However, the movie doesn’t dig into these topics with any meaningful impact. While it toys with these domains, it fails to use them as much more than window-dressing.
All of this leads to an inconsistent tone that doesn’t work. The film can’t decide if it wants to be a serious drama or a campy horror fest, so neither side goes much of anywhere.
At times, Shed does okay for itself as a basic monster movie, but those moments remain too few and far between. In the end, it becomes a lackluster mix of terror and Afterschool Special.