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Friday, April 19, 2019

SHED OF THE DEAD -- Movie Review by Porfle




Still need your "zombie comedy" fix after SHAUN OF THE DEAD? If so, you might want to try a visit to the SHED OF THE DEAD (2019, Indican Pictures).

Monty Python's Arthur Jackson may have had two sheds, but one's enough to get Trevor (Spencer Brown) into trouble. It sits on one of many verdant plots of land where nice British people do their gardening, but Trevor's plot has gone to seed while he stays in his shed meticulously crafting medieval warrior figures with which to have intense fantasy wargames with his corpulent nerdy friend Graham (Ewen MacIntosh, "The Office").

The proper gardeners, led by Mr. Parsons (a very proper Kane Hodder), are threatening to have Trevor evicted, but their plans are thwarted by the onset of a very inconvenient zombie apocalypse.


It takes a while for this to fully spread into their little neck of the suburbs, however (Trevor manages to miss all the frantic radio reports), and in the meantime we observe out-of-work Trevor's dicey relationship with nagging wife Bobbi (Lauren Socha) and her dominatrix friend Harriet (Emily Booth, GRINDHOUSE), for whom Graham carries a very long, hard torch.

The action stops every once in awhile to delve into some of Trevor's medieval wargame fantasies in which he plays magical warrior knight Casimir. These interludes are nicely rendered with some fairly good green screen and well-drawn motion comics. 

Back in the real world, things really get going when Trevor accidentally kills Mr. Parsons and, while cutting up the body for a hasty burial, is attacked by the now-zombiefied Mr. Parsons' legless torso within the cramped confines of his tiny shed.  It's one of the film's goriest sequences, and lets us know that the laughs in this movie will definitely be tempered by occasional bursts of the old ultra-violence.


While the photography's a bit murky at times, production values are good and director Drew Cullingham (A VAMPIRE'S TALE, BLACK SMOKE RISING) stretches his budget dollars (or pounds, in this case) quite well.  When the zombie attacks finally occur, there's good use of extras to make the zombie horde look larger and more menacing. 

An old-fashioned zombie siege takes place when Trevor, Bobbi, Harriet, and Graham end up fighting off the undead as they invade Trevor and Bobbi's house.  There are some very imaginative variations on the familiar tropes, with Trevor and Graham taking on aspects of their wargaming alter egos, and just as things look hopeless the script pulls off some nice twists that send the whole thing off with a bang. 


Performances by the leads are fine, with Spencer Brown's Trevor carrying most of the seriocomic weight while the rest provide ample support. The rest of the cast comes with quite a substantial pedigree, with the aforementioned Kane Hodder (FRIDAY THE 13TH, OLD 37, BTK, CHILLERAMA) as Mr. Parsons, Michael Berryman (THE HILLS HAVE EYES, THE TENANT) in a delightful turn as one of Harriet's clients, Bill Moseley (HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, THE CHURCH) as dedicated zombie hunter "Doc", and Brian Blessed (FLASH GORDON, "I, Claudius") providing full-throated narration.

While hardly a Romero-level epic, SHED OF THE DEAD pulls its weight as a funny, suspenseful, gore-drenched zombie romp that takes a nice, big, juicy chomp out of the genre and really gives us something to chew on. 


Buy it from Indican Pictures

TECH SPECS
Runtime: 85 minutes
Format:  2:35
Sound: Dolby Sr.
Country: USA
Language: English






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