Alienated Teenager Versus A Vampire

The Shed is one part after-school special and two parts old-school vampire movie. The mix doesn’t completely work out. Filmmaker Frank Sabatella takes vampires back to their roots as gruesome, bloodthirsty monsters. A wayward teenager traps a deadly vampire in his grandfather’s shed, only for things to spiral out of control. Jay Jay Warren plays the teenager in question and veteran character actor Frank Whaley has a small role.

Before listing The Shed’s many weaknesses, it should be pointed out that the low-budget horror movie gets a few things right. The make-up and VFX for the vampire are fantastic, worthy of a big-budget Hollywood production. Resembling an updated take on the vamp aesthetic from Salem’s Lot, this is one nasty and frightening monster on screen. That makes the jump scares better, even when you know they are coming.

The Shed also gets some credit for remembering how vampires were treated before Twilight. Going back to traditional horror 101, this is a classic vamp that bursts into flames when hit by sunlight and wants nothing more than to rip your head off while drinking your blood.

The Shed is… mired in cheesy and outdated high school archetypes

Here’s the catch with The Shed. The entire premise rests on flimsy story logic and high school characters taken wholesale from the 70s and 80s. Characters repeatedly make inexplicable choices, mostly to push the plot forward. The idea of trapping a vampire? That part works. Everything proceeding from it, including the cheesy high school sub-plots, don’t work.

High school student Stan’s life is miserable – he lives with his abusive grandfather, he’s on the verge of going to juvenile detention, he doesn’t really get along that well with his best friend Dommer, and both social outcasts are mercilessly bullied at school. Not to mention losing his dream girl, Roxy, to those same bullies. That is a lot of alienation for one protagonist. Bullying is a repeated theme that becomes tiresome in The Shed, tritely handled.

It is through that tumultuous angst that Stan meets a challenge that changes everything in his life. He discovers a murderous vampire trapped in a shed on his grandfather’s semi-rural property. Fearing the police lest he gets sent back to juvenile prison, Stan must figure out a way of dealing with the creature on his own while also figuring out his problems at school. When his good friend Dommer learns of the situation, a moral dilemma arises between the buddies.

What starts out promising ends up in disappointment, mired in cheesy high school archetypes. The Shed isn’t terrible storytelling and has some decent ideas. However, The Shed could have been more refined.

The Shed Blu-ray screen shot

Video

The 2.40:1 presentation is leagues better than your typical indie horror film. The 1080P video has a rich palette that favors brighter colors and maximum clarity. Outside of the establishing opener, moody color grading is avoided. Flesh-tones are on the pale side, even for the regular human characters. This is fine picture quality worth owning on Blu-ray.

Minor banding and posterization creeps into the AVC encode, a fairly ordinary job by RLJE Films on a BD-25. Exteriors have excellent definition and consistent detail, backed by a perfect contrast. Darker interiors and night scenes have mildly reduced clarity with fine black levels.

Audio

5.1 DTS-HD MA delivers an active surround mix with frequent LFE extension. The low-budget horror flick has a score by composer Bear McCreary, best known for his work on The Walking Dead.

The discrete audio isn’t subtle. Rears are heavily engaged in several scenes and the vampire’s aggressive moves echo across the soundstage. The Shed’s lossless audio emphasizes energy and action over pinpoint imaging. Dialogue is placed high in the mix, nothing becomes lost in the audio’s bigger dynamic scenes.

Optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles play in a white font, inside the 2.40:1 widescreen presentation.

Extras

No special features are provided outside of trailers for other Blu-ray releases by RLJE Films. They continue to include the trailer for Odd Thomas on all of their horror movies, a movie that was first issued six years ago.

Odd Thomas Trailer (02:27 in HD)

Monster Party Trailer (01:34 in HD)

Trick Trailer (01:16 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Shed
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  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

A vampire flick that attempts a retro monster vibe with some ham-handed messaging about high school bullying.

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User Review
3 (1 vote)

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