What We Do in the Shadows
New Zealand 2014
Written by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi
Directed by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi
“What We Do in the Shadows” was a blast from start to finish. THIS is how you make a great mockumentary. As you might have noticed, I’m not the biggest fan of that style, but here it’s used wisely and enhances the movie considerably. Which again works as a perfect reminder that it’s less the tools per se that are good or bad, but how you use it. The idea that someone would shoot a documentary about vampire-roomies living in a flat in Wellington… genius. But it’s not just the concept; Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi also squeeze out every bit of humor that you would expect from a movie like that. They pretty much won me over with the glorious first scene alone, with the alarm clock. The introduction of the different vampires who live in the flat was great, too. After we’ve settled in, the movie pretty much offers a laugh a minute, but despite that, it’s not a hollow affair. For such a silly concept and movie, it’s remarkable that they actually managed to squeeze in a couple of touching, emotional scenes. The message of the movie seems to be: Vampires are only human, after all!
The jokes are not only hilarious, but sometimes also quite clever, especially when they deal with the typical rules, abilities, limitations and challenges that come with being a vampire, like that someone actually has to invite you in (especially annoying when you’d like to visit the newest, hippest dance club, but can’t get past the bouncer), their skill to hypnotize people (which they sometimes use to play tricks on their victims), their rivalry with werewolves (which is treated like the feud between fans of rivaling football clubs) or the fact that they don’t see their reflection in the mirror (which makes dressing up quite a challenge). But it’s not just the jokes that make this movie incredibly funny, but also its characters. I especially loved Viago, whom I found hilarious, but the others are great too. Clement and Waititi do a great job to give all the vampires totally different personalities, which makes for an interesting dynamic between the flatmates. The cast and the direction are great, too. However, the main star here is the script/the story. If you’re a fan of horror in general or vampires in particular, and prefer your humor on the dark and/or twisted side, you’ll have a bloody good time!
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