What We Do in the Shadows – Review

By Leigh Parsons @Cinimalist

What We Do in the Shadows is a new mockumentary film about a group of vampires directed by and starring Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi. It is also a strong contender for the funniest film of the year.

From its opening fake titles “The New Zealand Documentary Board” the tone of the film is set. Three old vampires, plus an ancient one, live in a flat share in Wellington and bicker about the mundane issues any student is familiar with; whose turn it is to do the washing up or vacuuming?

It is the juxtaposition of the mundane and the supernatural that works so well and produces laugh after laugh, perhaps the best being the explanation as to why vampires prefer virgins. The absurdity of the situation is further realised after a local Wellington man is turned and begins to annoy the older vampires. His only grace in the eyes of the older vampires is his really nice human friend Stu, who the vampires promise not to drink.

There is very little plot to What We Do in the Shadows and what there is hangs on a nemesis of the group called “The Beast” and the group having their human friend in Stu. The lack of plot is of no detriment to the film as it is the gags that make it work.

What We Do in the Shadows expertly parodies all the tropes of both vampire film and lore but does so in a loving manner. It is this warmth, shown not only to the central characters but to the vampire genre as a whole that elevates it from just another genre/comedy clash.

What We Do in the Shadows has a limited theatrical release but is well worth taking the effort to find but doubtless will have a long afterlife on DVD.

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