SHED OF THE DEAD
Directed by: Drew Cullingham
Starring: Spencer Brown, Lauren Socha, Ewan Macintosh, Emily Booth, Kane Hodder, Bill Mosely Brian Blessed (voice
Trevor is a 30-something, reclusive fantasy wargamer who likes nothing more than spending time in his allotment shed, lovingly painting his figurines and sliding into his own little fantasy world. Unfortunately the outside world keeps butting in - his shrewish wife Bobbi is constantly haranguing him to get a job, the other allotment owners want to evict him, and as if that weren't enough to deal with, the zombie apocalypse has begun…
There may be some trepidation when approaching Shed of the Dead as the film does bear certain similarities to the much more famous Shaun of the Dead and it might be just considered to be a cheap knock-off. Well… there is no denying that it IS a cheap knock-off, but at the very least writer and director Drew Cullingham as done a decent estimation of the designer's label and some care and attention to the seams, while at the same time giving the film its own sense of being. So much so that this could very well sit beside Shawn and be set in the same universe.
The film starts very promisingly with the booming voice of Brian Blessed giving our hero Trevor's fantasy an epic narration. Then we meet Trevor proper as he is lovingly painting his metal figurines ready for his next wargame. However Trevor's idyllic mood is ruined by his allotment neighbour, Mr Parsons (Kane Hodder, the original Jason), who informs him the other allotment owners have signed a petition to have him evicted from his plot, as he's done bugger all gardening the whole time he's been there.
The we meet Trevor's wife, Bobbi, and her best friend Harriet (British horror stalwart Emily Booth), two hairdressers who have a certain "personal services" side gig. And to cap it off there is Graham, Trevor's best friend and fellow wargamer.
The main characters are quite different to the norm. Trevor is only sympathetic by default and proves to be a total coward at key moments. And a self-centred coward at that. His wife Bobbi isn't much better, spending most of her screen time haranguing Trevor.
Graham, played by Ewan Macintosh, is definitely going to draw comparisons with Shaun of the Dead as he has more than a passing resemblance to Nick Frost, and also playing a single, slobbish layabout. However while Frost's Ed was totally asexual, Graham is a total horndog with the hots for Harriet, which is a decent go-to for some lewd laughs.
The humour here is somewhere around Viz level, giving the film a lewd and bawdy feel and more than once I found myself laughing out loud (the fate of a smug video-blogger), which is always a good sign for this sort of film. The slapstick works as well, and there is a clear nod to Shaun when Trevor walks back home from his shed, oblivious that the zombie apocalypse has started. There are some good parodies of radio DJ's and daytime television as well.
The production values are pretty decent and it is only the lack of zombie hoards which really shows the sparceness of the budget. There are fun fantasy elements and some pretty decent gore gags throughout.
Obvious comparisons aside, SHED OF THE DEAD is a really entertaining horror comedy which gets the balance between the two just about right. Not only that but the film houses a great cast, with the likes of Kane Hodder, Emily Booth and Bill Mosely (a great character called Doc). This is perfect "after the pub" fare and worth your time.
8 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)