Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
It seems like every type of vampire movie that can be made has been. There are the classics, ones told from the point of view of the bloodsuckers, and ones set in a world where everyone knows the creatures exist. The Shed tries to tell a different one. The idea is an interesting one, but ultimately the story does not do enough to stand out.
The Shed is about a high school student named Stanley. He lives with a grandfather who constantly puts him down, is bullied at school, and the girl he likes will not give him the time of day. The story sounds familiar until Stanley makes a discovery. As bad as his life his, things get worse when he learns what is in the shed in his backyard.
Few movies place more importance on music than this one. There are numerous montages. The odd thing is most of them are pointless. They consist mainly of Stanley just listening to music with his headsets on. And when he is not listening to music, his band t shirts and posters show off his tastes. The one time there is actual action, the song is possibly the worst cover ever of “The House of the Rising Sun”.
The music would be bearable if the performances were better. Things start very poorly in The Shed. Along with the generic acting, some of the characters make odd facial expressions. It can be very distracting at times. Basically, everyone has a tendency to overact. This is not helped by some clumsy lines. Things get better as the movie progresses, but at best it is average.
The story has the opportunity to be the movie’s one saving grace. For a while, it looks like it is going to pull it off. The opening is great. The scene is packed with fear and the brief glimpse of the vampire is frightening. Instead of another suave count, The Shed provides the audience with a modern day Nosferatu. It is just a peak, but it is enough to be terrifying.
It also does a nice job of setting up the premise. There is an origin story and the importance of the shed is immediately revealed. When the new vampire goes into hiding, there is a even brief moment the audience will feel pity. This is common in these types of stories. After all, the creatures have an uncontrollable bloodlust forced upon them. The is not a tale that is supposed to make anyone feel pity, but it is engaging.
There is also a neat subplot involving bullying. What makes The Shed work is it does not go the typical route. Stanley is not tricked into befriending a monster before learning it is evil. The plot tackles the effects of lifelong taunting head on. It is a very brave story that not only takes on a sensitive subject, it pulls no punches. These are easily the best parts of the film.
Things start to go off the rails in the third act. At this point, what was a deep if flawed film becomes just another scary movie. It is an odd decision that turns Stanley into an unstoppable vampire hunter and the main villain into a bloodthirsty beast. Even worse, all the characters begin spouting generic action movie lines. It is an abrupt change of pace that kills the overall mood of what was turning into a very emotional tale.
Bullying is a tough subject to handle. The Shed does an admirable job. What makes it even more impressive is the way it is done. Masquerading as a vampire movie, but really one about how to deal with real life terror, the premise is one of the most original in years. It is so strong, it makes up for the early faults. Unfortunately, a surprising change of tone fails the movie in the end.
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