Eccentric and farcical, Shed of the Dead follows Trevor (Spencer Brown), an unemployed Londoner who enjoys the quiet solitude of his allotment shed more than any other aspect of his reality. After he accidentally kills his neighbour on the allotment and a zombie apocalypse begins to spread across the city, Trevor and best friend Graham (Ewan Macintosh) comically attempt to survive and escape the ensuring carnage.
While this feature has a couple of notably gory moments and quintessential British quirks, Shed of the Dead seems to ignore or abandon the crucial cues and qualities that define and distinguish the genre.
Modern showpieces of the black comedy zombie subgenre (most notably Shaun of the Dead, Planet Terror and Zombieland) wonderfully parody and reference the wealth of source material from early trailblazers like Braindead and George A. Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead trilogy. Shed of the Dead, though, doesn’t enrich the script with the quotes and references that reward and delight its knowledgeable and geeky audience. It does, however, brilliantly cast horror legends Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder and Michael Berryman in supporting roles.
The only issue with weaving these cult heroes into the script is that they outshine lead protagonists Trevor and Graham, who unfortunately don’t deliver the same excellent dialogue and chemistry as their most notable comparisons: Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead (played by an experienced comedy duo in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). Perhaps most disappointingly, Trevor doesn’t evolve or toughen as a character in the chaos of the zombie apocalypse until the closing postscript, unlike the aforementioned Shaun and Ed, Columbus in Zombieland or Lionel in Braindead. This metamorphosis and progression of the reluctant hero is undeniably critical for any storyline to succeed in this niche bracket of horror cinema.
It’s fantastic to see a British contribution to this crowded genre, but Shed of the Dead sadly doesn’t have enough gore or action to conceal or compensate for its weak and sometimes crude script. Most zombie aficionados, though, shouldn’t be discouraged by this feature’s numerous flaws. It’s still 90 minutes of flawed zombie action worth watching for the sympathetic fanatics.
SCI-FI-LONDON 18 May