Blue on Black: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

I’ve had the same friends for a long time. Most of my closest friends I’ve known since the eighth grade, so our friendships developed through those awkward teen years of being idiots and finding ourselves. This includes finding our senses of humour I think, but I have two theories about that: One, the people with whom you learn to laugh will laugh with you (and you with them) no matter what you think is funny or not, forever, because it’s now just part of the dynamic of that friendship. Two, you and this person discovered your senses of humour together at the same time and therefore developed similar ones and will always find the same things funny. Two nights ago, one of my oldest pals came over to watch What We Do in the Shadows, and I can’t tell you if we laughed ourselves to tears because the film was in fact that hilarious, or if we are just that used to laughing together. I think it’s a bit of both.

What We Do is a horror comedy/mockumentary about a group of four vampires sharing a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. Jemaine Clement, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film, plays Vladislav, a several-centuries-old vamp with a love of torture, the reputation of a monster but a weak spot for an ex-girlfriend whom he has nicknamed “The Beast.” Viago is brilliantly and somewhat flamboyantly played by Taika Waititi and some of his lines are the best in the film. Almost every word out of his mouth and almost every expression on his face had me in stitches.


And then there’s Deacon, played by Jonathan Brugh, who loves being a vampire and considers the entire thing to be quite sexy. He has a human slave named Jackie whose only wish is to become a vampire herself, and so she has been unquestioningly serving Deacon for years as he perpetually dangles in front of her the promise of a bite.


Last but not least in the flat is Petyr, a Nosferatu-type 8000-year-old vampire who was probably my favourite part of What We Do. Every time he appeared on screen, I couldn’t help burst out laughing. I mean look at this thing:


It’s a perfect mockumentary, with the whole “they’re just like everybody else” vibe going on in the background, even when the subjects are floating through the air vacuuming, hissing at each other while arguing dish duty, vomiting copious amounts of blood into a back alley, or battling werewolves. Thanks to What We Do in the Shadows, I can now be both someone who hates vampire movies, and someone with a favourite one. Whether I found it such a riot because it’s actually clever or because I’m so used to laughing with one of my oldest friends is anybody’s guess, but I’m going to go with both.

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