What We Do in the Shadows
Directed by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh
Review by Jordan
What We Do in the Shadows is as insubstantial as it is relentlessly hilarious; utilizing a breezy mockumentary format to introduce us to the surprisingly monotonous world of the Wellington vampire and never threatening to spoil the fun by being either too dark or too ambitious. In settling into a humorous vibe punctuated with understandably macabre instances of violence, Taika Waititi‘s third feature film (co-directed by Flight of the Conchords’ favourite Jemaine Clement) after the little-seen Eagle vs Shark (2007) and much-loved Boy (2010) stands as the brightest highlight on his CV and one of the most blatantly enjoyable horror comedies of the decade.
Like many others, I’m tired of every half decent, funny horror film since 2004 being compared to Shaun of the Dead, but this NZ production owing equal debts to both Nosferatu and This is Spinal Tap really is deserving of it… even if it doesn’t feature any Time Splitters 2 references…
What We Do in the Shadows focuses on a lair (flat) of blood-suckers hotly anticipating the annual ball that brings all creatures of the night together, and their daily struggles including kitchen cleanliness, wardrobe dilemmas and getting “invited” to nightclubs. Viago (Waititi) is the most responsible, though also least-vampiric of the group, whose main objective is to keep the couch clean of blood. Vladislav (Clement) was once one of the most feared figures in the shadows, renowned for his torturous “poking,” but lost his mojo when defeated by his eternal nemesis. Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) is a libertine and wary of any outsiders and Petyr (Ben Fransham) is thousands of years old… and its starting to show.
The foundations of the group threaten to derail when Petyr turns dinner into a member of the fraternity, but things look up when the new blood, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) introduces the gang to his mate Stu (Stuart Rutherford – holder of one of the smallest IMDb profiles you’ll ever see), an IT consultant with rosy red cheeks who is just so darn likeable. He will confront socially responsible werewolves, inquisitive zombies and the changing nature of his best friend, but Stu is still happy to tag along and help where he can.
Short, slight and shallow? Tick. Funny? Tick, tick and tick. Sometimes funny is all you need, and when you’re laughing out loud at the simple sight of someone vacuum cleaning or looking at pictures of sunrises on the internet, you know you’re in luck.