The humble garden shed. Somewhere to stash things that you intend to use for one or two months a year, if you can put a braver face on things and move them out from all of the spiderwebs that are built on them throughout the rest of the year. Or a place of solace that people escape to, often indulging in some beloved hobby in there. There have also been, certainly in recent years, scary things lurking in there. Zombies (although I have only seen the trailer for Shed Of The Dead so I may be exaggerating things slightly), David Cameron, and now a vampire.
Frank Whaley is Bane, someone we see hunting a vampire at the start of the movie. And then he gets bitten. Seeking shelter from the sun, he ends up running into a shed. That's how young Stan (Jay Jay Warren), who lives with his grandfather (Timothy Bottoms), ends up eventually finding out that he has a bloodsucking creature in his shed. This may make it difficult for him to try and date the lovely Roxy (Sofia Happonen), or it may make it easier, which is how his best friend, Dommer (Cody Kostro), views it. Because you don't need to fear anyone, not even the bullying Marble (Chris Petrovski), when you have a way to get rid of them.
Only the second feature from director Frank Sabatella in the past twelve years (that was the enjoyable Blood Night: The Legend Of Mary Hatchet, and he has a number of shorts to his credit), The Shed is a film that feels like it should have been made a few decades ago. It's an enjoyable blend of vampire action and teen movie beats, but would have ultimately worked better with the cast members who populated so many John Hughes movies of the 1980s. This should have been the kind of gem that fans of Fright Night held in the same high regard as that slice of fun. Instead, it's just here and now, not a bad film, but not able to fulfil the potential of the central idea.
Warren isn't a bad lead, although he's not the most charismatic either, but he's a solid enough anchor for the events, especially when surrounded by a good mix. Happonen is a bright presence, Kostro does the put-upon teen thing well enough, and Petrovski is a bully that you look forward to getting his comeuppance, however bloody that may be. And Bottoms is as good as ever, even if he's not being all that nice to his grandson.
The Shed deserves kudos for trying to do something a bit different. Based on a short story by Jason Rice, Sabatella gets the tone just right as things move between schoolday threats and the ominous presence that viewers know is waiting in that shed. It's everything else that needs tweaked and tightened, from the dialogue and character moments to the pacing. The film clocks in at a not-overlong 98 minutes, but it feels longer than that, thanks to a slow start, saggy middle section, and a third act that really only pays everything off in the last 15 minutes or so.
It's still worth your time though, and I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next feature from Sabatella. The man has talent. He just needs to work with better material.