As with most comedies, mockumentaries can be incredibly smart and pointed or a real chore to sit through.
Let’s see what the vampire comedy ‘What We Do in The Shadows’ falls into.
Viago (Taika Waititi), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) are four vampires who share a flat in Wellington. All of these creatures are centuries old and can manage to pass for modern beings to varying degrees (the exception being Petyr who is thousands of years old and looks like Count Orlock). Their delicate existence of sneaking out at night for blood is complicated when Petyr feeds on Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), the ex-boyfriend of Deacon’s human servant Jackie (Jackie Van Beek). Months later, Nick is a vampire and is uncomfortably part of the group. His friend Stu (Stu Rutherford) is a human who also hangs around and is inexplicably well-accepted by all.
Will this new dynamic throw things of for the group? The usual dangers exist for vampires like hunters and daylight, will that be a factor? What about those werewolves?
This comes to us from New Zealand, specifically from the fellows who brought us ‘The Flight of the Conchords’ and other similar treats. It manages to be slightly plot-driven which seems like a rarity in these kinds of films and that is a good thing. There are moments where the characters speak to the camera, give their thoughts and things cut away from the action for a moment or two. This is not a momentum-killer as it could be in lesser hands.
A huge part of the appeal is that so many rules of being a vampire are explored and played with for the maximum amount of fun: the need to be invited into a building, the master-servant relationship, transformations, an aversion to crosses, not having a reflection, etc. A solid knowledge of the vampire myth allows for the absurdity of it all to be heightened and toyed with.
One challenge is keeping the appropriate stylistic approach for vampires while also keeping the tone light. There is plenty of gore to be found, but it is usually handled with a light touch. One such example is the very particular Viago putting down coverings over the couch and floor before attempting to feed on an unsuspecting victim.
Special features include: nothing.
‘What We Do In The Shadows’ is quite possibly, the funniest movie this Examiner has seen thus far in 2015. It is just a smart film that knows how to be fun.
Add an extra half star to this review.
Rated R 85 minutes 2015