Orphaned teenager Stan (Jay Jay Warren) has been forced to live with his abusive grandfather Ellis (a nearly unrecognisable Timothy Bottoms, once a cherubic beauty) in a house on the edge of some nowheresville. At school, he and his slightly weedier friend, Dommer (Cody Kostro), are regularly bullied by a jock thug (Chris Petrovski) who, just to rub salt in the wounds, has a thing going with Roxy (Sofia Happonen), the girl Stan has had a crush on for years.
Into this classic teen-drama set up, writer-director Frank Sabatella injects a goofy horror element: a newly infected vampire (Frank Whaley), desperate to avoid burning sunlight, holes himself up in the shed at the bottom of Stan’s garden and starts picking off every creature that comes near, starting with an unfortunate alsatian dog.
Sabatella takes time to get the plot mechanics set up so that victim after victim will get knocked off at regular intervals as Stan struggles to keep the monster contained. The fact that emotionally damaged Dommer sees this as an opportunity to get revenge on their enemies adds an interesting moral wrinkle.
The script could have done with an extra twist or two or thematic zigzag to prevent the final act from feeling like a by-numbers genre exercise. It doesn’t help that most of the actors playing teenagers all look about five years older than they are supposed to be, or that Warren, who is otherwise fine, is a little too chisel-cheeked and teen-idol handsome to convince as a downtrodden outsider.
Otherwise, most of the gore is neatly paired with sight gags to neutralise the terror, and it’s an efficient enough machine for generating scares.
• The Shed is available on digital platforms from 11 May.
Source: The Guardian