What We Do in the Shadows, 2014.
Written and Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi.
Starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and Stuart Rutherford.
A New Zealand documentary crew are invited to the home of four flatmates who just happen to be ancient vampires.
With the vampire genre saturated with love struck teenagers and vampires walking around in day light, What We Do in the Shadows is a phenomenally funny take on the original vampire movies. Following the escapades of four vampire flatmates it’s an instantly quotable and fast paced mockumentary. The flatmates consist of 18th Century dandy Viago, young rogue Deacon, torture lover Vladislav and 8000 year old Peter.
All of the vampires are clearly bored to tears and it’s hilarious to watch them attempt to function in the 21st century. With the introduction of a younger vampire into their circle the tension begins to rise and with that we get to see Vladislav the poker learn about Poking on Facebook, Viago learn about the wonder of Skype and see Deacon threatened by not being the youngest – he is only 183. There isn’t much plot but that’s not what this film is about. It’s a group of comedians riffing off each other and putting a spin on a genre that has become tired.
Watching the group attempt to decide what to wear for a night out and then in turn attempting to get invited into clubs is hilarious. But it is the mundane elements of life that are the most entertaining. A flat meeting about chores is hiliarious as Viago moans that Deacon hasn’t done the dishes in five years. Vladislav points out that he dusted the hallway by dragging a corpse through it.
Writers Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords fame) and Taika Waititi have written a quick witted script that is brought alive with some hilarious performances. Deacon as the jealous rogue provides lots of laughs, but it’s Taika Waititi’s Viago that I found the funniest. He lays down newspaper to catch the blood from victims, he always seems to hit the main artery and his fashion sense is wonderful.
If you’re embracing the vampire genre then you also have to include werewolves. Led by Rhys Darby, their motto is “werewolves not swearwolves” and the interactions they have with the vampires is hilarious. We also have the vampires’ familiars who are essentially slaves, a token zombie, some witches and a lone human called Stu who the vampires have vowed not to eat.
What We Do in the Shadows is hilarious from start to finish. At 86 minutes running time the jokes keep on coming thick and fast and don’t let up until the credits roll. Although it’s unlikely to light up the cinemas, a cult following is almost guaranteed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter