SHED *** USA 2019 Dir: David Axe. 82 mins
A scrappy but ambitious and unpredictable indie horror from writer-director David Axe, this revels in the playful camerawork and oddball p.o.v. shots of early Sam Raimi while invoking some of the off-kilter, dreamlike ambience of Don Coscarelli’s original PHANTASM. It’s all stitched together into something that, although messy, feels genuinely quite original. Mike Amason is fun as an ageing yarn-spinner, the kind of chap who invites the local youths over to his farm to listen to his conspiracy theories and ponder over life’s great mysteries: ever wonder why wearing your own skin doesn’t feel like anything? He has an out-of-bounds shed on the property which is all too clearly concealing something…who would be foolish enough to enter?! SHED is eccentrically paced and juggles tonal shifts from gross-out gore and relatively explicit threesomes to a surprisingly romantic bent in the final act. At the centre are fascinating, skin-stealing monsters – an endangered species that came from across the sea to bear witness to the gradual destruction of the Earth by humankind. These ancient beings are a compelling creation, their confessional dialogue amusing and strangely poignant (“We are geology”) and the script’s cynical commentary on consumerist culture truly timely: “You’re putting your faith in Band-Aids and shitty cell reception!” A smart, brain-teasing low-budgeter from a filmmaker to watch.
Review by Steven West