I love horror, but my favorite character has always been the vampire. Those little blood suckers have gone through a wide range of metamorphosis starting with the first time I set eyes on them, which was at the tender age of seven. I am a child of the creature double feature generation and the movies offered a wide variety of horror every Saturday afternoon. I was a loyal fan to the undead ever since I watched Bela Lugosi play Dracula in a movie theatre with my mom and siblings while on vacation in Atlantic City.
My love of bloodsuckers continued up with a major crush on Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgard on the HBO series) a character from the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Series called True Blood. I even have vampires as some of the main characters in my Roof Oasis Series. I thought I had seen all there was to see about vampires, but I was wrong. I had yet to watch vampires star on a reality show. What We Do In The Shadows is definitely different, but did I like the film? Sharpen those fangs for my review.
We are inundated with reality shows. Some are good, while some produce loony tune candidates that want to become president of the United States. What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 New Zealand mockumentary packed with just enough horror and comedy to make it very entertaining even for diehards like myself. The film, which is written, directed and produced by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, follows four roommates, all vampires, that try desperately to blend into the dating scene while taking their meals on the wing.
The vampiric roomies include: Viago (Taika Waititi), the leader who is OCD about keeping the house clean; Vladislav (Jermaine Clement) a former tyrant who is fond of torture; Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) the rebel who loves to knit and loves to dance; Petyr (Ben Fransham) an 8,000 year old vampire who lives in the basement. No vampire can survive without their familiar and our four vampires have Jackie (Jackie Van Beek) to do all their menial work. Jackie wants to be a vampire but her pleas go unanswered because she is the only one they can trust to run errands and to bury the bodies, while the guys sleep during the day. Later, Jackie willingly puts her ex-boyfriend in danger when she has him meet her bosses.
Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi use the mockumentary to show the trials and tribulations a vampire must deal with in modern society. They have no reflections, which leads to some very strange fashion statements. Even with the few predictable and cheesy parts thrown in, we find ourselves laughing out loud as this group of blood suckers jitterbug their way to the local clubs searching for their next meal.
There is only one problem. Vampires are unable to enter a building without an invitation and, most of the clubs’ bouncers are suspicious of the men dressed in frilly blouses and dated clothing. Watching our vampire buddies trying to talk their way past the bouncers is one of many scenes that make this film so enjoyable to watch. When a human friend, Nick (Cori Gonzales-Macuer) is accidently turned into a vampire, our guys finally get into the best clubs, but trouble ensues and gets the attention of a vampire hunter.
One of the funniest scenes in the film involves Taika Waititi’s Viago attempting to feast on an unsuspecting girl while trying to keep his room neat and clean by covering the floor with newspaper. The reality camera follows our vampires around, documenting everything they do and even catches the strained relationship that exists between our lovable bloodsuckers and the alpha wolf, Anton (Rhys Darby), and his pack.
I’ve always been a fan of Jermaine Clement and Rhys Darby because I absolutely loved the HBO series Flight of the Conchords. When I learned that these guys were in this cool vampire film, I not only watched the film, but recommended it to all my friends.
What We Do in the Shadows is able to do what no vampire film has done before. Clement and Waititi have taken the horrible and deadly elements associated with the undead and turned it into a routine day in a most deliciously funny way. My advice for this Halloween season is to watch this film.