What We Do in the Shadows

"Excellent"

What We Do in the Shadows Review


Aside from being flat-out hilarious, this vampire-themed reality TV spoof actually has some pungent things to say about friendship in the 21st century. Not that it's ever trying to make a point. The goal of Kiwi filmmaker-stars Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (known for the TV series Flight of the Conchords and the film Eagle vs Shark) is simply to poke fun at the genre while keeping the audience in fits of knowing laughter. And it's a relentlessly entertaining romp.

In Wellington, a camera crew decks itself out in crucifixes to protect itself before heading to a house shared by four vampires. The house's self-proclaimed leader is the preening dandy Viago (Waititi), who tells off the others for neglecting their chores. Brooding lover Vladislav (Clement) is annoyed that he's not as powerful as he was 800 years ago. Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) is a good-time boy who hates Viago's rules. And Petyr (Ben Fransham) is 8,000 years old and prefers to lurk menacingly in the basement. Then they meet Nick (Cori Conzalez-Macuer), a new vampire who with his human pal Stu (Stuart Rutherford) helps the flatmates understand more about present-day society as they prepare for the social event of the season, the annual Unholy Masquerade Ball.

Like a reality TV show, the film meanders through the lives of these men as they face everyday issues with a pronounced vampire slant. For example, going out for a night on the town isn't easy: first, you can't see yourself in the mirror to get ready, then you have to be formally invited to enter any bar or club, and finally if you hit a major artery while feeding the mess is a nightmare to clean up. Deacon has another problem with his human slave Jackie (Jackie van Beek), who is tired of being strung along with promises of immortality. And the local pack of werewolves is seriously annoying.

The clever script hilariously slices through these elements to find barbed humour in the way these characters interact. All of the actors give deadpan performances that play up the normal chaos of the vampires' lives. The flatmates are constantly getting into arguments that involve lots of hissing and flying, and when Nick misbehaves they make him do a hilarious walk of shame. But it's the insecurities each character has that makes them so endearing. These are immortal killers who have the same yearnings and loneliness as the rest of us mere mortals. So even if the final sequence feels a bit corny, the film's smaller moments are so sublimely ridiculous that it's bound to build a cult following.



What We Do in the Shadows

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedies

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th February 2015

Distributed by: Paladin Pictures

Production compaines: Funny or Die, Unison Films, Defender Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Emanuel Michael, Chelsea Winstanley

Starring: as Viago, as Vladislav, Jonathan Brugh as Deacon, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Nick, Stuart Rutherford as Stu, Jackie van Beek as Jackie, as Anton, Frank Habicht as Phillip, Ian Harcourt as Zombie, Madeleine Sami as Morana, Duncan Sarkies as Declan

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