- Directed By: Natalie Smith
- Written By: Peter Skillen
- Country: UK
- Released: 2011
- Running Time: 8 minutes
- Links: StormMaker Pictures
- Drama, Horror, Reviews
Shed opens with an Asian man (Sheng-Chien) tied to a chair. This unnamed victim has clearly been through a lot already and, as soon as we meet his skinhead tormentor (Paul D Morrison), it is painfully apparent that things are about to get a lot worse.
As you would expect, the skinhead has a lot of pent-up anger to unleash and this is directed at Asians in general and his victim in particular. The films handling of this is both brutal and unflinching and, on occasion, very difficult to watch.
Indeed, the film strays dangerously close to torture porn but what raises it way above most of the films that fall within this sub-genre is a moment – its not really a twist, but Im not going to give away any spoilers either – that fills in the backstory in a way that pushes you to re-evaluate your assumptions about the characters and how they ended up in this situation.
Shed is a very visually striking film. Director, Natalie Smith has made a real virtue of the films spartan set to give it a genuinely oppressive atmosphere. It is also a an well-scripted film that manages that infer a great deal of plot into a very short running time. What really holds it all together, though, is the superbly menacing performance from Paul D Morrison who brings us face to face with a genuinely frightening character.
I am sure that I have already expressed my view that the best short films are those that take a single thought and focus relentlessly on the execution of that idea. In the case of Shed, the idea is a question and one that attempts to explore the factors that could drive someone to the obsessively violent rage expressed by the central character.
While Im not entirely convinced by the premise presented, it is unarguable that the makers of this film knew exactly what they wanted to say and they have said it very effectively indeed. This is an incredibly powerful short film and one that will remain with me for a long time to come.