November 15, 2019 The Shed (Movie Review)
Out of all the movies in the world that have tackled the Vampire folklore, only a few have shined an original light over the tired genre. Films like 1985’s Fright Night, 1987’s Near Dark, and in more recent years, 2010’s Stakeland featured great writing as well as directing, which put smiles upon the faces of audiences heavily into the fanged, sun-hating creatures of the night. The question is: will there be another film lucky enough to be added to such a list?
On Friday, November 15th, 2019 RLJE Films releases The Shed in theaters, On Digital and On Demand. Directed and written by Frank Sabatella (Blood Night: The Legend Of Mary Hatchet 2009, The Ranger 2018), it is a movie about a monstrous, bastardly-evil vampire hiding in the titular enclosure behind the house of where teenage schoolboy Stan (Jay Jay Warren: Crossroad 2012, Day Of Reckoning 2016) lives with his nasty, abusive grandfather. The Shed starts strong, stays strong through much of its running-time, but will ultimately fall apart at its last-quarter mark—but, regardless of such a statement, the movie succeeds on many, many levels, sinking its teeth into the list of the Most Original Vampire Movies of all time. Furthermore, it is intense at times, and bloody when it needs to be, but it is the acting, the cinematography, and the overall look of the creature which become the film’s strongest features.
For example, Warren is incredible in his role, showing extreme fear when introduced to the creature, and extreme emotion when he thinks about the demise of his late-parents—the latter of which is skillfully portrayed during dream sequences. Warren carries his character throughout the film like a professional, as his Stan tries hard to figure out how to battle a fanged, lion-roarin’ creature in his shed, while handling the shenanigans of everyday school life, and his own sanity, before his head explodes from all the stress.
All this in mind, The Shed is filled with fantastic scenes of bright, sunny days, and clear, but dark, moody nights. The dialogue is much better than one would expect from a Horror film; even tackling certain social/world issues in a non-preaching, intelligent way. This is all the doing of Sabatella who excels with The Shed with it being his second full-length feature. Sabatella’s vision promises to give sheer frights, and plenty of gore-soaked scenes, never falling into the realm of un-fun, overly-brutal kills and thrills. Sabatella went the the less-is-more route, succeeding in creating a moody, brooding, and intense piece of work. Sabatella also brought forth some amazing performances out of his actors, all of which are believable, strong, and welcoming in such an overpopulated, tried-and-fried Horror genre. He also gifts the audience the appearance of the underrated Frank Whaley (Vacancy 2007, The Cell 2 2009), whose very presence in The Shed is short, sweet, but worth every treat.
Some other great features you will notice are how clean and smooth each scene looks, and how colorful everything in those scenes appear. There may have been the use of wide-angle lenses to shoot close-ups of characters, focusing hard on the latter, while capturing all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer in the areas not in the forefront. The crew responsible for the camerawork, here, perfectly captured the light and shine of the sun; and because of such a feat, the viewer will have no choice but wish to be in the movie to bathe in these warm, inviting scenes.
Overall, The Shed holds your interest the second the door of the shed slams shut during its introduction, but will loosen its grip during the the final quarter soon after a fight erupts at the high-school between Stan, and tough-guy Marble (Chris Petrovski, whose first role here will be on everyone’s radar, and for whom will impatiently wait to see in another film). After this fight, though, all the logic, all the suspense, and all of which lifted The Shed up the highest mountain of film greatness slowly lets itself go. It is a shame because Sabatella, his cast and crew, truly give the audience something quite amazing before the movie succumbs to cringe-worthy clichédom.
However, there is much more good than there is bad about The Shed. The one thing most certainly true about the film is that it is highly original, and very well made. For a great second feature from Sabatella, and for a slick cast and crew, Cryptic Rock proudly gives The Shed 4 out of 5 stars.