What's in the Shed!
Stan (Jay Jay Warren) is a troubled 17 year old skirting the edges of the law and deep trouble as he careens towards his eighteenth birthday. He lives with an abusive grandfather who is “taking care of him” after the tragic death of his parents. Out in the woods, a hunter named Bane (Frank Whaley) is accosted by a vampire and bitten. As the sun comes up, Bane seeks refuge in a nearby shed to get out of the scorching rays of morning light. That shed just happens to be the one behind the house where Stan lives with his grandfather. As Bane hides in there, Stan goes to school, meeting up with his best friend Dommer (Cody Kostro) and almost immediately getting into a fight with a group of bullies that have been tormenting both guys for a long while now. They ditch school and later that day, Stan discovers what is living in his shed and traps it there. He tells Dommer and Dommer hatches a plan to kill their tormentors, the bullies. Things go awry, of course, and soon Stan is fighting for his life, finding an unlikely ally in former friend Roxy (Sofia Happonen), as vampire Bane moves in for the kill…
So, in order to enjoy this movie, you have to accept two things that are egregious suspension of disbelief moments. One, that Stan wouldn’t immediately call the cops when he first discovers what is in his shed. Yeah, they try to explain it by saying he’s afraid of getting in trouble, but come on. And two, the fact that vampire Bane can’t just kick out the walls and escape whenever he wants. Those might be fatal flaws, but if you can get past them, what you’re going to find is a sharp little movie, with lots of blood, plenty of humor, great comradery, and a cast that you more than root for, one that you actually care about. The Shed doesn’t do anything new, really, but man, is it fun. The horror sequences are frightening, the look of the vampires is horrific, and the little nods to Fright Night are pretty sweet. I’ve read elsewhere of others that accuse them of ripping off Fright Night, but I totally disagree. Nods and winks and homages? Yes. Stealing? Absolutely not. Warren is great as Stan and Happonen is fiery and unforgettable as Roxy. And let me say, Kostro’s Dommer is an underrated character here. The sequence where Dommer is trying to goad one of his bullies into the shed and to certain death is at once hypnotizing, terrifying, and completely understandable. I was rooting for him, even though it was an abhorrent thing to cheer for. Dommer is just that sympathetic, as are all of the characters, even the bullies. That takes some chops to pull off. Also, there’s this odd, generic metal music they use that sounds authentically 80s but also somewhat fake. I liked it and didn’t, at the same time. Although that riff on Dream Warriors by Dokken over the end credits was pretty sweet.
Any horror fan is going to enjoy this movie. Anyone who peripherally enjoys horror is going to like it, too. If they just fixed those two glaring problems, this movie could easily be hailed as a more modern classic. But those troubles still sit there, and despite my overall enjoyment, they nagged at me the whole time. Suspend your disbelief and you’ll have a good time. If you can’t, you’re just going to be annoyed. In any case, I do recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of 80s horror.