My notes on Shed of the Dead, which screened at SciFi London
If there’s anything I’m more fed up with than zombie apocalypse movies, it’s comedy zombie apocalypse movies – especially when they mistake obnoxiousness for edginess, and contrive to give bad taste a bad name. Writer-director Drew Cullingham made the odd Umbrage The First Vampire and the distinctive The Devil’s Bargain, but this is a more conventional low-budget genre piece – modelled on Shaun of the Dead but crucially missing out on Edgar Wright’s affection for British slackers. The similarly-toned Granny of the Dead isn’t that funny or that horrific either, but is vaguely amiable – whereas this seems to go all-out to present its heroes as unpleasant folk you wouldn’t want to hang around with at the best of times, let alone during one of those zombie apocalypses that unfolds in the background for the first third of the film while all the upfront dialogue involves arguments about allotments, fantasy role-playing games and protagonist Trevor (Spencer Brown) being generally useless.
Unemployed Trevor hides in a shed on his allotment painting tabletop miniatures and distilling potato vodka, confiding only in his faux-agoraphobic best mate/gamer opponent Graham (Ewen MacIntosh) and hiding from his shrewish wife Bobbi (Lauren Socha), who works in a salon where Harriet (Emily Booth) moonlights as a sex worker. American genre regulars Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman and Bill Moseley have cameos, and all get to do drooling zombie scenes – but only Moseley makes anything out of his role, as a cowboy-hatted serial killer who has a lot of fun during an apocalypse that makes chopping people up a socially acceptable pastime. In Shaun, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play ostensibly awful people, but the crisis forces them to be better – Trevor and Graham just act like gits throughout, and when they are required to be heroic or self-sacrificing late in the day, it doesn’t register. Of the key quartet, only Socha plays anything more than a caricature – and she’s stuck with the shrillest role. The gore gags include snogging zombies chewing each other’s faces off and a zombie school crossing guard.
There’s the germ of an idea here, with a British hero who retreats to his shed when the going gets tough and squabbling eccentrics clashing over approaches to keeping an allotment as civilisation falls … but that draft seems to have got binned in favour of scenes with MacIntosh perving over a waxing strip or Berryman in fetish gear with a horsetail butt-plug.
Here’s the SciFi London listing.
No comments yet.