What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

taika-waititi-jonathan-brugh-jemaine-clement-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-photo-credit-unison-films_-_h_2018

“Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane – like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.” — IMDb

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to finally see this gem of a movie. Directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, and based on their 2006 short film of the same name, What We Do in the Shadows is a hilarious mockumentary featuring three vampires just living their daily lives as flatmates in Wellington, New Zealand.

They supposedly shot around 125 hours of footage, much of which was improvisation from the cast, and it took around a year to edit it down to the 85-minute final version. The improv, I think, is obvious and very much appreciated, as it lends a more genuine hand to the documentary feel of the movie. The most obvious example is the fact that Stu the IT guy — their human friend — was ACTUALLY an IT guy named Stu that they thought would be funny to include in more scenes than he ever imagined.

** SPOILERS! **

There’s not a ton to say in any manner of critique since, well, the movie is just awesome. It reminded me quite a bit of the Belgian vampire mockumentary, Vampires. Both are full of very dry humor, references to older vampire films and horror movies, and just kind of making attempts to show vampirism as a normal, almost mundane part of life rather than the more otherworldly feel that most vampire movies have.

But, above all else, it’s just hilarious. Them arguing over household chore responsibilities and flying into the air in a fit of momentary anger and hissing at each other… drawing pictures of each other before they go out because they can’t see their own outfits in the mirror… Nick having trouble climbing into the window because he’s floating… “we’re werewolves, not swearwolves”… watching videos of sunrises with Stu… the whole thing is just awesome.

Highly recommended, for sure. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for not only the much-anticipated sequel (focused on the werewolf group), We’re Wolves, but also the American re-make that is in the works AND the spin-off TV show, Wellington Paranormal.

Rating: 8/10 | Director: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi | Writer: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi | Music: Plan 9 | Cinematography: Richard Bluck, D.J. Stipsen | Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Karen O’Leary, Mike Minogue

 

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