An American Werewolf in London set the bench mark for horror comedy with Shaun of the Dead maintaining the standard. Unfortunately much that has followed has failed and to that list can now be added the all to obviously titled homage Shed of the Dead which closely adheres to Edgar Wright’s ‘s template. So for Simon Pegg we have Spencer Brown and for Nick Frost we have Ewen Macintosh who, since finding fame as an extra in The Office, now seems to be cutting a career in low budget Brit horror films. Their characters in Shed of the Dead paled in comparison. Trevor (Brown) is between jobs and hides from his shrill harridan of a wife Bobbi (Lauren Socha) in his allotment shed whilst his friend Graham (McIntosh) who is a benefit scrounger claiming to be too sick to work re-enacts fantasy figure fights with toys in his basement.
It’s Trevor’s lack of doing any gardening that, not unreasonably, finds the other gardeners putting together a petition to get him kicked off his plot. Led by head allotment man Mr Parsons who unfortunately ends up dead after an argument with Trevor and believing himself to be responsible tries to hide the body only to find that the death coincides with a zombie apocalypse. The irony of Mr Parsons being reduced to vegetable status on a vegetable plot is perhaps too subtly made in a film that is in your face.
So what follows is Graham & Trevor making their way home to save Bobbi and her colleague Harriet (Emily Booth) who both of them have a bit of a thing for especially Graham who acquires Harriett’s used waxing strip to pleasure himself gives you an idea of some of the slightly sordid aspects of this which fail to raise a laugh.
Shed of the Dead plays like a first ever draft of what Shaun of the Dead might have started as and it make it obvious just how layered and eminently re-watchable that film is. Edgar Wright’s clever direction and the script’s subtext, in jokes and deliberately under played sets up which are indicators of what’s to come that you only pick up on repeat viewings are all missing from Shed of the Dead. The only really original aspect of Shed of the Dead is Trevor’s fantasy sequences role playing a character in his shed based fantasy figure battle scenes but these don’t quite make up for the rest of the film.
It’s a shame because writer and director Drew Cullingham has assembled several iconic horror film actors that includes Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman who really are slumming it here affecting laughable British accents. Lauren Socha is as good as she always is but her agent needs to start getting her some decent stuff rather than these horrible harridans that she plays as she did in ‘Fanged Up‘ whilst Emily Booth remains the pre-eminent British scream queen. Shed of the Dead struggles and fails to escape the shadow of Shaun of the Dead but at 82 minutes this moves along quickly enough.
Here’s the Shed of the Dead trailer……
Shed of the Dead is available on Digital Download from 20th May