What We Do in the Shadows (2014) Review:

Bloody good.

Oh dear.
Oh dear.

Director: Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi

Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brough, Rhys Darby, Ben Fransham, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, et al…

Runtime: 86 minutes

Plot (taken from IMDb): 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.

Petyr, say hello to the cameras.
Petyr, say hello to the cameras.

What We Do in the Shadows is the best mockumentary since This is Spinal Tap – it is perhaps funnier. From the same people that brought the world the strange but great Eagle Vs. Shark comes What We Do in the Shadows and it is the vampire-comedy to end all vampire comedies.

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s creation provides a fantastic look at the vampire and each of the various style of vampire is covered perfectly, from the Nosferatu-inspired Petyr (Ben Fransham) to the appalling Twilight-like vampires we have been lumped with in recent years and anything in-between. The masterstroke of the film is that it places these vampires in a house together and each one plays to type incredibly, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they do not really get along.

Each character is expertly realised and Taika Waititi’s Viago is a clean-freak who doesn’t like to get blood anywhere and gives us the rules on how to avoid blood on the furniture, Jemaine Clement’s Vladislav is a vampire from the middle-ages and is the cool-under spoken vampire that likes to hold onto more traditional values of blood-orgies and bows and arrows. Rounding out the main-three is Jonathan Brugh as Deacon, a younger vampire (of 183 years) who doesn’t quite agree with the old-values of Viago or Vladislav.

I wonder if he listens to The Archers?
I wonder if he listens to The Archers?

The major plot-point of the film is that the group have not adapted to modern-life by only going out at night – for fear of the sunlight. Deacon’s human servant Jackie (Jackie Van Beek) is impatient to be turned into a vampire and through a series of events, the group is introduced to Stu (Stuart Rutherford) – who in turn introduces them to modern technology. It’s great fun seeing the group interact with things like the internet for the first time, and it provides the film with a great amount of its humour.

However, the funniest the film gets is when the vampires interact with the local werewolves, led by Anton (Rhys Darby), giving unto the world this line: “we’re werewolves, not swearwolves”. The mixing of the vampires with other people (or beasts) is expertly done, but not perhaps as well done as the vampires themselves.

There are ghost cups all over this highway you know.
There are ghost cups all over this highway you know.

Indeed, we are shown a history of each of the vampires, and they are so expertly realised and parodied to a level of detail only seen in something like This is Spinal Tap. I seriously cannot get it through enough how funny this film is, so I will say this: What We Do in the Shadows is the funniest film of last year and arguably, this decade – with only Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa standing in its way. Oh. Be prepared for blood – a lot of it.

Summary:

What We Do in the Shadows is consistently hilarious. It is expertly directed, acted and written – there was a lot of detail paid to the filmic and literary history of the vampire. There is a simple joy in watching a vampire struggle with the internet, or the chore-wheel. I honestly cannot see any other comedy topping this film in the years to come; this is the pinnacle of the mockumentary.

What We Do in the Shadows is brilliant, and indeed, fangtastic.

93/100

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