“We’re vampires, we don’t put down towels.”
In a time where found footage and mockumentary films have become over saturated, and with little exceptions, it is pretty easy to look the other way when yet another one is released. What We Do In The Shadows is one of those exceptions. The film takes everything you thought you knew about vampires and flips it on its head. Creating a hilarious and enjoyable tale about some flatmates whose insatiable thirst for blood gets them into all sorts of zany and peculiar situations.
Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the minds behind Flight of the Conchords, come together to craft an intelligent and endearing satire that aims to push the boundaries of reality television and famous horror monsters. Working like MTV’s Real World, What We Do In The Shadows follows a “documentary crew” who entail the nightly lives of Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr four vampires who share a flat in Wellington. The four have granted the camera crew permission to follow and shoot them over a span of several months. In that time, we are shown that vampires are much more than blood sucking demons. We see as they argue about chores, how they get ready for the night, the difficulties in finding something to eat, and the constant party nightlife of the undead. It shows that they aren’t all that different from you and I. Other than the fact that you probably don’t suck blood from the necks of humans. Well, at least I think you don’t.
From beginning to end the film grabs and keeps you in a constant state of laughter with no intention of letting go. One thing that stood out the most is that it doesn’t depend on toilet humor. Now, I’m not saying that kind of humor is bad, but it can get old and I’ve noticed that too many films have relied on it to keep audiences interested. While there are a few raunchy jokes What We Do In The Shadows’ humor stems from the situations its characters face and the constant poking fun at the cliches of reality TV and the rules set by horror. Much of the humor also relies on referencing classic pop-culture films, television series and icons. One in specific was was the reference to The Lost Boys. In a dinner scene Deacon turns their guests spaghetti into worms then says to the camera “I stole that trick from The Lost Boys.” Unlike many films of the same genre this one is genuinely funny and never seems to run out of steam. Each joke feels fresh, new and is always timed perfectly. With that said, because the film does work like one long running-gag it takes away from the development of the plot. Which is mostly lacking, but can easily be overlooked since you become immersed into the world that has been created by Clement and Waititi.
If you aren’t a fan of laughing your ass off, this film could still win you over with it’s nods to classic vampire flicks and intense amount of blood. I’m serious, there is so much blood you begin to question your own body. Beyond that, the film creates a universe that feels very close to your own. Go outside and imagine that the world you’re living is one where the freaks, or in this case monsters, really do come out night. In the city of Wellington we are introduced to the plethora of vampires that reside within. There are old ones, goth ones, fat ones, ugly ones and young ones — sadly if you’re bitten as a child you stay that way forever. Many of them even do normal things, like trying to gain entrance into a nightclub. Which is difficult because in vampire tradition it is customary that they be invited to enter any new environment. Now, if a city of vampires doesn’t terrify you imagine a city full of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Scared now? That’s exactly what Wellington holds. On several occasions our four friends encounter werewolves. This is when things go back to being hilarious. The meet up is standoffish, completely hostile and all too funny. Insults fly left and right as the vampires try get a rise out of them, but werewolves are civilized people. Even during one of their heated battles you hear the pack leader say, “We’re Werewolves, not Swear-Wolves.” Then the funny dissipates into all out horror. In a scene where we witness the wolf transformation, the film turns to a bloody mess of blood and guts. This is one film that balances humor, satire and all things horror successfully.
As previously stated, the film does lack in plot. There isn’t much going on and is instead a series of situations played out by our protagonists. While, I would have enjoyed seeing a coherent goal driven narrative there was a lot the film had to offer that made up for it. The film instead serves as a character study that allows you to understand who these vampires really are. We watch as they grow individually and achieve their goals as separate entities rather than falling into one grand foreseeable plot. It truly feels like a documentary.
What We Do In The Shadows is hands down the funniest movie I have seen so far this year. It is full of heart and absolute absurdity. If we get two or three more films that follow suit for this year I think we’ll be golden. I recommend you watch this film as soon you can. Hell give it a second or third viewing. Either way you won’t be disappointed.
What We Do In The Shadows [Review]
A brilliant and bloody piece of satire that grabs and keeps you in a constant state of laughter with no intention of letting go.