Shed Of The Dead

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Shed Of The Dead
"The shed itself is underused, with a dearth of bizarre gardening accidents and tool-related terror."

With a suitably bombastic opening narrated by the one and only Brian Blessed, this is the story of a mighty warrior mage who battles against all the odds to overcome an army of undead - or at least, its principal protagonist would like it to be. In fact, Trevor (Spencer Brown) is an anti-social, thirtysomething slacker with a marriage that is still staggering along despite having been dead for some time, and partly in order to avoid his wife he spends all day hiding out in the shed on his allotment, painting miniatures for role-playing games. He's the sort of man who fantasises that he would come into his own in the event of a real crisis, but when the dead actually start rising up, he spends most of his time running around and shouting at people.

Shed Of The Dead is aiming squarely at the same comic territory as Shaun Of The Dead but lacks both that film's affability and its internal consistency. It doesn't really ave any ideas of its own but just runs through the usual zombies happen, lots of people get eaten schtick in the hopes that the characters will make us care. For the most part, they don't. Perhaps most disappointingly, the shed itself is underused, with a dearth of bizarre gardening accidents and tool-related terror. Seriously, if you're going to use a title like this, the least the audience deserves is a few suitably awful puns.

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Brown does his best to provide a likeable everyman lead but his training as a comic doesn't translate well into this kind of acting and as a result his lines often jar. Bitterness aside, the character simply isn't fleshed out enough to give viewers something to latch onto, but at least he was more personality than his off-the-shelf fat and jolly best friend Graham (Ewen MacIntosh), whose only character trait is his lust for discount goth chick Harriet (Emily Booth, displaying the standard of acting that we have learned to expect from her). Of the main cast, the only one who really works is Lauren Socha as Trevor's wife Bobbi, whose relentless bitching manages to be obnoxious, funny and not altogether unsympathetic.

There's a nice turn early on from Kane Hodder, playing a fellow allotment owner who objects to Trevor's lack of gardening skills and reminding us what a capable actor he is when not covered in latex and cutting people's heads off. The film isn't short on blood and gore, though again there's nothing inventive about it. The joke about Trevor modelling himself on his role playing character is overused, with too many tedious fantasy sequences interrupting the action, but at least it adds something distinctive - one gets the impression that it was initially intended to feed into the main plot more but somehow got lost along the way.

There are little hints of a better film here trying to get out but too many scenes start promisingly only to end up contributing nothing to the overall work. A short film about Hodder's character tending his allotment, with Brian Blessed narrating, might have had more bite.

Reviewed on: 17 May 2019
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A dispute over an allotment coincides with a zombie apocalypse.

Director: Drew Cullingham

Writer: Drew Cullingham

Starring: Spencer Brown, Lauren Socha, Ewen MacIntosh, Emily Booth, Kane Hodder

Year: 2019

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: UK

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