Written by: Casey Powers
Directed By: Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, and Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
The documentary is one of the most distinct and recognizable genres in the history of film. With its distinct and unique approach to storytelling, documentaries have become the target of parody and mockery throughout the years to varying degrees of success. While Christopher Guest has more or less perfected the sub-genre (seriously go watch A Mighty Wind and tell me it’s not a masterpiece), there are many that have tried and failed to create humor through a faux documentary. Luckily What We Do in The Shadows is one that succeeds.
What We Do in The Shadows follows the story of a documentary film crew as they follow the lives of four, eventually five, vampires in their day-to-day life. The main three bloodsuckers are Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Viago (Taika Waititi), and Deacon (Johnathan Brugh), three vampire roommates that argue over chores, discuss the challenges of keeping the furniture clean when they kill and just hang out together. The fourth roommate is the ancient Nosferatu looking guy named Petyr (Ben Fresham) who the three treat like a senile old grandpa. They are also reluctantly joined by newly changed vampire Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer). And the story pretty much ends there. There is no real over-arching plot, just a bunch slice of life sketches with a bunch of people that are no longer alive.
The movie is brought to us from the same people behind Flight of the Concords, so it should come as no real surprise that the movie is hilarious. For those not familiar with Flight of the Concords, it’s basically New Zealand’s version of Weird Al Yankovic. They had a show on HBO, its pretty good, you should watch it. For those of you who are familiar with Flight of the Concords, it’s best to think of What We Do In Shadows as an extended episode. It’s the same type of humor, minus the songs, and it pretty much hits the spot.
The jokes cover things like the fear that a vampire must have when opening blinds at sunset, how hard it is to keep track of current fashions and trends when you’re immortal, and a group of werewolves who don’t like when people curse. Remember they’re werewolves, not swearwolves. They also mention how important it is for a werewolf to wear stretchy pants when they transform or else it’s just going to be awkward when they turn back, not to mention you ruin a perfectly good pair of pants. The jokes make you laugh and you’ll probably be quoting the film to your friends.
While this movie is not scary, it does have plenty of love for horror films and fans. It’s chalk full of references to other vampire films and like any good horror spoof, it’s got plenty of fake blood shot out of pressurized hoses into peoples’ faces. It’s a spoof that actually spoofs its genre, which is surprisingly rare for modern parodies.
The film is rounded out by a fun supporting cast, including vampire groupie (Jackie van Beek), a not so tough alpha werewolf (Rhys Darby), and ordinary human Stu (Stuart Rutherford) who everyone loves for seemingly no reason.
Overall What We Do In The Shadows is a fun movie that can be enjoyed by horror fans and casual fans alike. I think that it is definitely worth checking out.