Starring: Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Jemaine Clement, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Ben Fransham, Stuart Rutherford, Rhys Darby
What We Do In The Shadows is a mockumentary (horror/comedy) from New Zealand, featuring a group of vampires as they deal with the highs and lows of modern life. It features a group of four vampire room mates, ranging in age from 2000 to just over 100 years. This is a film that really turns the vampire legend on its head, and gives us a different and fresh look into the mythical creature. They aren’t Gothic creatures of the shadows, with the romantic over tones, they are as messed up as the rest of us, having deal with doing the dishes and keeping the house clean.
We have Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), Vladislav (Jermaine Clement) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) all living together. They deal with being immortal, in Viago’s case he pines for a love he lost due to a little mistake of stamps, Deacon doesn’t do the dishes and Vlad is well Vlad. As for Petyr he lives in the basement, hidden away, he doesn’t do all that much being 2000 years old and looking like Count Orlok or a creature from Salem’s Lot. Things change for this group when Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) is taken to their house to be a meal but Petyr ends up turning him. Being a new vampire, Nick isn’t accustomed to their ways, and just wants to fit in being the outsider. Oh and all of this takes place in the lead up to a big Masked Ball for the undead.
There isn’t much of a plot to speak to of, this is a film that focuses on it’s characters and their lives as vampires in New Zealand. And just that simple fact makes this film so insanely funny, visually it is so funny and the jokes really land without fail. If you are a fan of vampire films, you will easily pick up the references, and yes there is Twilight mentioned here. They also need to contain their own egos to live together without causing a big riff, to attract attention. These characters are not at all alike, and they very much clash, especially when Nick is brought into the fold. The comedy comes naturally and it is so clever, it really is refreshing to see a vampire film like this.
It may be a low budget affair, but it isn’t something that gets noticed easily. Any effects that are here look really good and blend perfectly with their surroundings. The moments of blood that are seen are handled in a very precise way, and of course the laughs spew forth as well in these moments. While it is hard on the comedy, there are a few very darkly funny moments, that never feel lost in the shuffle. Such as when Viago brings home a woman to feed on, and it looks as though he feels guilty about it, and when he makes the move, he makes a really big mess.
The script by it’s stars and directors Waititi and Clement is very sharp and extremely clever. It never feels flat and it flows extremely well, there really is not a dull moment to be had. This is a fun film, that never out stays its welcome, with a bunch of hysterical characters and insane situations. Keep an eye out for the human friend Stu, the lack of getting into nightclubs (they need to be invited in duh) and the group of werewolves led by Rhys Darby. If you want 86 minutes of pure fun and enjoyment, check this one out. You wont be looking at vampires the same way again.
The Australian Blu-ray
The audio and visual quality are really quite exceptional, I was quite impressed with how crisp and sharp it looked. The sound was very clear and loud, perfect. The only downside to the blu-ray release is the lack of extra features (aside from a trailer).
Review written by Marcey Papandrea
Purchase What We Do In The Shadows – http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/30487/what-we-do-in-the-shadows-blu-ray
Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.