The Shed - Grimmfest Review

★★★

Directed by: #FrankSabatella

Written by: #FrankSabatella

Starring: #FrankWhaley, #TimothyBottoms, #SiobhanFallon, #JayJayWarren, #CodyKostro, #SofiaHapponen

Grimmfest Film Review by: Darren Tilby



Going into The Shed (yes, I know how that sounds), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought we’d get an entertaining creature feature—and that is kind of what we get. But the fact of the matter is this could have been much better. The Shed is pleasing in a sort of B-movie way, but it’s let down – like so many horror films – by a weak, clichéd, and confusing third act. In the end, it just feels too familiar.


The film begins as a mysterious man, Bane (Frank Whaley), is chased through the forest by a shrouded creature (Damian Norfleet). The beast quickly catches him and sinks its teeth into his neck before being killed by the rising sunlight. Bane, finding that he is now sensitive to the light, seeks solace in a nearby tool shed—that of his neighbour, Ellis (Timothy Bottoms). Ellis lives with his downbeat grandson, Stan (Jay Jay Warren). And for Stan, life is not good. At home, Stan is subject to abuse by his Grandfather. And at high school, Stan and his best friend Dommer (Cody Kostro) are the targets of repeated bullying, and, in Dommer’s case, physical violence.


It’s the classic high school, coming-of-age setup. Although, writer/director Frank Sabatella does try to change things up later on in the movie. Without giving too much away, after Stan and Dommer discover the creature, there’s an interesting dynamic shift in the film that I thought worked extremely well. Unfortunately, it’s short-lived, and from here on in, the coming-of-age stuff kind of peters out and doesn’t go anywhere. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the film had a tongue-in-cheek disposition, but it doesn’t. And this, in turn, wouldn’t be a problem if the movie was scary, but it isn’t.


Performances start strong, however, and, apart from a few occasionally cringy moments, it remains so throughout the movie. It’s worth noting these are all near the end of the film, and I feel this may have more to do with the uninspired dialogue and repeated use of one-liners. And while performances are solid throughout, there is a (sadly) underutilised but exceptional performance in Cody Kostro’s Dommer. #MatthiasSchubert’s visuals are another standout aspect of The Shed; they’re always strong, and, at times, stunning.


Frank Sabatella’s take on the classic vampire infestation tale, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired. The tonally confused homage to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Joel Schumacher’s Lost Boys makes the unfortunate mistake of taking itself too seriously. A mistake both of those films successfully avoided. What’s left, is classic B-movie material—albeit with much production values. There’s still an entertaining film to be found here, full of 80s creature-feature nostalgia. But I can’t help but think this could have been so much better.