What We Do In The Shadows: Review

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From the writers and directors of Flight Of The Conchords and Eagle Vs. Shark comes What We Do In The Shadows. A mockumentary set in New Zealand, it follows a group of vampires in the lead up to their biggest event of the year; the ‘Unholy Masquerade ball’. During the opening, we are told via title card that the documentary crew wore crucifixes and were guaranteed protection by the the film’s subjects, as we’re introduced to the flat-sharing vamps. There’s Viago, the neat freak and old romantic who is pining for his mortal love and Vladislav who is described as ‘a bit of a pervert’; obsessed with torture and a bit sex-crazed. You also have Deacon, the lazy former ‘Nazi vampire’ who thinks himself the cool one. Finally, there’s Petyr, an ancient Nosferatu character who is too old to do much of anything. The group dynamic begins to shift when a new, modern day vampire is introduced into their ranks and struggles to keep their secret safe from the human world.

Like every successful mockumentary, most of the laughs in What We Do In The Shadows come from the mundane. Writers, directors and stars Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi spoof the vampire mythos by taking away all the glamour and sexiness and replacing it with dull, everyday situations such as dealing with who will do the blood covered dishes. The Lost Boys, Twilight and the aforementioned Nosferatu are all openly referenced and amongst the best moments in the film but it’s the awkward sense of reality that our characters must face that entertained me the most. The comedy is often dark and gruesome but mostly clever, asking questions such as how a vampire makes sure they look good before going out to a nightclub when they don’t have a reflection?

On a visual level it’s quite impressive at times too, with a couple of set pieces that include a hunt around the vampiric nest and a corridor spinning fight sequence that have all the technical ingenuity of a Spike Jonze music video. Whilst it’s not quite as charming or as funny as the director’s previous work, What We Do In The Shadows is still a thoroughly entertaining watch. It lacks a strong narrative and isn’t as hilarious as the poster would make you think, but it is different, made me laugh out loud, and is essentially a gory and humorous love letter to the horror genre.

Image credit to http://www.impawards.com

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