What We Do in the Shadows
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford
Directed By: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Written By: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 26 min
How would the classic old-world underworld actually operate in the 21st century? Such is the discussion and inspiration behind Jemaine Clement’s and Taika Waititi’s extremely effective mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows.
It takes all the character traits associated with vampires (and to a lesser degree, werewolves and zombies), and pokes fun at the many ‘rules’ that define them. Like not being able to wear silver, or requiring an invite before entering a building. A real hassle when our intrepid band of misfit blood suckers want a night out on the town.
The documentary format really gives the film a sense of place and time. As centuries old vampires struggle to cooperate with each other, and adapt to the connected modern world. This is a brilliantly written movie, which entertains on first viewing, and keeps you smiling after the credits have rolled as your brain replays your favorite scenes, and you’re able to fully appreciate how layered and ingenious this film is.
What We Do in the Shadows is also really well made, and the rough hand-held footage is nicely mixed with some effective visual effects. As at times this vampire community have to resolve their differences physically, requiring the occasional transformation into bats.
On its release in the US back in February 2015, it didn’t get the attention it deserved, and was limited to a handful of theaters across the country. It’s now available to rent on DVD and streaming, and I strongly recommend you give this film a chance. You won’t regret it!
This is filmed like a raw documentary, with a camera crew following these vampires in and around their home in Wellington, New Zealand. As such, the camera motion can be a little difficult to follow. This film is rated R for language, and yes, violent scenes involving A LOT of blood!
This film can be enjoyed equally on any size screen you care to watch it on.
Best Moments: << spoilers >>
I loved the scene near the end of the film when our gang of vampires come across Wellington’s resident pack of werewolves preparing for a full moon. As their plans include wearing the right clothes to accommodate their transformation, and locating a strong enough tree to chain themselves too.
I also enjoyed Nick’s (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) transformation into a vampire, especially the bit where he learns why vampires don’t eat regular human food.