That’s not to say the movie is all doom and gloom – far from it, in fact. Essentially, Sabatella’s plot relies heavily on classic films like Fright Night, The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and, like them, he makes the hero’s journey a fun ride we can all relate to. We all know the experience of being bullied – some of us will even admit to being the perpetrators at times – and, using this common thread, Sabatella makes these characters so viscerally real you can’t help but identify and agree with all sides of the argument. Sure, you know it’s morally wrong, but you’ve felt so much pain over the years you just want to give it back tenfold because there has to be justice in this world, right?
“…this tall order could not have been possible without a stellar cast…”
Of course, this tall order could not have been possible without a stellar cast. Warren perfectly plays Stan as the heroic loser. He knows right from wrong despite the pain in his life, and he’s even willing to take a few punches to protect the ones throwing them. Kostro simply shines as Dommer. We feel his day-to-day agony, and we get it when he snaps. A lesser actor could not have pulled it off. Sofia Happonen delivers a strong performance as the unrequited love interest caught between the bullies and the “losers,” while Chris Petrovski’s portrayal of the lead asshole evokes both hatred and empathy.
Bullying is a difficult subject to address because we automatically root for the victim and, while that’s justified, we rarely think about the triggers that make the bully such a monster. Through simple storytelling, Frank Sabatella examines this dynamic and makes it something we can all understand, particularly when it comes to the ultimate bully of the vampire. Even he wasn’t always the bad guy, so where does it really begin?
The Shed screened at the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.