Cert: 15 Runtime: 86 mins Director: Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Burgh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham and Rhys Darby
We’re vampires, we don’t put down towels
What We Do in the Shadows completely came under the radar for me this year. I am a big fan of Flight of The Concords, and to hear Jemaine Clement was directing this mockumentary I had to watch it. The added bonus it’s a mockumentary about vampires. Comedy and horror are two difficult genres to master, this made the whole project even more intriguing. So what is What We Do in the Shadows about? Meet Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement). These guys aren’t ordinary New Zealand flatmates. They’re immortal vampires from different historical periods. Viago, 379, was an 18th century dandy. Dashing 862 year old Vlad has a taste for kinky torture. And bad boy Deacon is just a lad at 183. All they want to is to get by without attracting too much attention with their bloodsucking activities in the confusing world of the 21st century. But matters become complicated when their basement-dwelling chum, 8,000 year old Petyr (Ben Fransham), turns annoying human hipster Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into a vampire! Fortunately, a documentary film crew is on hand to record the mayhem that follows.
First of all it’s by far the best comedy of 2014. It’s a very thin plot line, but my days it’s a meaty comedy. This mockumentary of three vampires co-habiting together: one who is very camp, another who is self-described as being hot and another who seems like a satirical-take on your stereotypical long-hair/metal-head. Oh, and an 8,000 year old friend who doesn’t seem to possess the skills of communication.They begin to talk the crew through how they try to socialise, which leads to some amusing scenes of vampires trying to have a nightlife. Then they talk the crew through how they capture/seduce people in order to drink their blood. What makes it interesting is that we have a new vampire Nick, who is new to the vampire scene. So the vampires are introduced into modern society. He’s young, he’s stupid, he is not even over a hundred years old! When he introduces his human friend to his vampire friends, you just know its not gonna go well.
I won’t go any further, but from here the plot delves the movie into comedic chaos. I was missing jokes because I was laughing at the ones previous! There are no immature fart jokes here, there aren’t any jokes that make you cringe in their lame delivery. It is also filled with comedic variety. Physical humour, plain old slapstick, facial expressions/body language. Especially that camp vampire who always leads the documentary crew around, his facial expressions and eye-movements when following the cameras made me laugh.This thing felt that it was running on all cylinders for the entire movie. It also manages to feel effortless; there was no sense of them trying too hard for laughs – the mockumentary setting helped the film in this sense. Despite the plot being thin. But, the wide range of comedy used, from slapstick to satire and everything in between, is probably the biggest reason why this movie does not feel forced.When the movie finished I was still in stitches. After only 87 minutes! What We Do in the Shadows is worth your time.