Review: Frank Sabatella’s “The Shed” (A Brutal Reminder That Bloodsuckers Still Reign Supreme)

I’ve been a huge fan of Frank Sabatella since his debut feature Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet in 2009 and his annual Halloween short films including Night of the Pumpkin and Children of the Witch. After three years away from the camera, one of the best independent film-makers in the horror genre returns with The Shed, a full length movie written and directed by Sabatella and starring Jay Jay Warren (“Bosch”), Cody Kostro, Sofia Happonen, Timothy Bottoms (“Land of the Lost”), Siobhan Fallon Hogan (“Scorpion”), Frank Whaley (“Luke Cage”), Chris Petrovski and Damian Norfleet. Shot by A Bigger Boat and Sideshow Pictures, The Shed follows Stan and Dommer, two best friends who have to put up with bullies and tough families on a daily basis. Their bad luck changes one afternoon when Stan discovers a ferocious, murderous ancient vampire living in the shed outside his farm house. Instead of using the monster to destroy those who wronged him, Stan seeks to find a way to destroy the beast instead. Unfortunately, others disagree or disbelieve him, leading to a violent and maniacal rampage that paints the farm red. The Shed is in select theaters and on digital and on demand starting November 15th 2019 courtesy of RLJE Films. Here’s why you really need to check this out.

The vampire subgenre has been making a huge comeback in recent years, and The Shed is a brutal reminder that bloodsuckers still reign supreme as long as they’re handled with unnerving intensity and primal instinct. Vampire films have been around since the 1920s and so, at this point, a script needs to be filled with to the brim with originality to harness the interest of viewers. I can say, without a doubt, that The Shed is one of the best vampire movies in the last three years – and the real magic behind that is the fact that it was shot mostly during the day. It’s a cool contrast since bloodsuckers die in direct sunlight, but the light of day is used here to cage the beast within and drive him absolutely hungry, bonkers and stir crazy. You’ll never see another movie with such a deadly character thriving in its own natural enemy. Again – originality, originality, originality! The Shed also plays out like a teen drama/coming of age story all wrapped up in a box of unexpected twists, character de-evolution and equal measures of suspense and gratification. Although this movie has a slightly higher body count and more gore than I was expecting, it does have more bite to it than an average horror flick. I attribute this to the baseline story originally penned by Jason Rice.

The Shed was produced by Peter Block and Cory Neal with executive producer Josh Crook and co-producer Mike Mendez. James Thomas served as first assistant director, Matthias Schubert served as cinematographer and Mike Mendez served as editor. This movie is absolutely flawless from start to finish, although the ending battle has a little hokeyness to it. I looked at reviews online from audience members who saw The Shed at film festivals, and I literally rolled my eyes at the ones who launch any criticisms in its direction. The Shed is a grand production with some of the most solid work in the independent scene, and the acting was much better than anything you’ll find on the Blu-ray shelves at Target and Walmart these days. Some reviews say it’s “boring,” but Frank Sabatella and Jason Rice never said they were making the next Underworld or 30 Days of Night. Instead, they made a homey, realistic, harsh and punishing movie with a great set of characters, an ominous location and a whole bunch of talent behind and in front of the camera. The Shed is refined, stylized and a punch in the jugular all at the same time with some Fright Night thrown in. Going in to your viewing, you know it’s not going to end well for the characters; so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Speaking of characters, Stan and Sheriff Dorney were my favorites. OK, I’m done raving about The Shed now. Final Score: 10/10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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