It’s tough to be a vampire.
I mean, you have to deal with werewolves, vampire hunters, ego clashes, long lost loves and of course, household chores. Seriously, it ain’t all flash and seduction folks.
That’s the premise of What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary that chronicles the daily (er….nightly) activities of three vampire roommates as they go about their undead lives. They include the amiable and adorkable Viago, the mysterious and enigmatic Vladislav, and Deacon, the brash bad boy of the group. The trio share a flat together along with a fourth roommate Petyr, a Nosferatu-type creature who never speaks and has a bad habit of leaving bones strewn across his basement dwelling.
During the course of the documentary, we get a nice glimpse into the vampires’ world as they deal with slaves, mentor a newly-made vampire, make friends with a (gasp) human,and most importantly, figure out whose turn it is to do the dishes, They also have a few run-ins with the local werewolves lead by an anal-retentive alpha who reminds his pack that they should be “werewolves not swearwolves” and keeps the proper protocol during the full moon.
What We Do in the Shadows is pure unadulterated silliness and although it’s not technically horror, there’s enough bloody fun to keep even the most jaded horror addict entertained. Campy and self-aware, the movie was a true labor of love for everyone involved, especially the actors. Taika Waititi as Viago is one of the sweetest bloodsuckers you’d ever meet. Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords fame) is virtually unrecognizable, in a good way, as a Dracula-esque vampire. And Jonathan Brugh as Deacon brings a bit of physical comedy (his erotic dance is a thing to behold). The secondary characters are all fine in their roles as well, but the movie really belongs to the three main characters who all share a great sense of comedic timing.
What We Do in the Shadows was written and directed by Taika and Jemaine who do a great job of keeping the joke going, without it feeling stale or tiresome. There are some great plays on the old vampire myths such as why virgin blood is so appealing and how difficult it is to get dressed without the benefit of a mirror. And much of the dialogue was ad-libbed which adds a very naturalistic tone to the film and let’s everyone have fun with their characters.
Sure the movie does drag a bit in the middle, a character that’s hinted at towards the end doesn’t quite have the comedic pay-off it’s supposed to, and at times the movie loses it’s documentary feel. But these are minor nit-picks. What you’re left with is something that’s original, delightfully entertaining, and well worth a watch (or two).
Rating: 8 out of 10