Rating out of 5:
It is no small compliment to say that a film is a fresh injection of life into the vampire genre, but “What We Do in the Shadows” is just that. Mocking the well-loved and universally recognised archetypes whilst managing to steer away from the crude parodies that the likes of “Twilight” inspired, “What We Do in the Shadows” stands out from the crowd of vampire movies. Walking the line between pleasing the super-fans whilst attracting new blood is a delicate act which WWDS performs well; vampire movie experts will recognise references to the classics but others will never feel left out. Even those who don’t like vampire movies should take the time to sit down in front of this one, just as those who don’t like zombies should pull up “Shaun of the Dead” one lonely night.
Clement and Waititi, the directors who also play two lead roles in the film, give us moments of mouth-slapping horror which punctuate the laughs, all the while preserving the “real-life” and “documentary” feel to the film. Perhaps it is the documentary aspect that makes it hard to pick out an overarching goal which the film’s plot seems builds towards; at times it seems more like a TV episode than a feature length piece. Nevertheless, the cast of characters keep us laughing.
To those who know their previous work, the quality of the laughs won’t come as a surprise; Jemaine Clement was part of the team behind the popular and acclaimed “Flight of the Conchords” and Taika Waititi, as well as directing some episode of Conchords, was recently named as the director for the next instalment of Marvel’s Thor, “Thor: Ragnarok”. Jonathan Brugh also deserves a mention as the third vampire, Deacon, who completes the core trio of the film.
Fans of supernatural fiction will be pleased to know that the local supernatural scene in New Zealand is fleshed out with a notable appearance from a cast of werewolves perhaps unlike those which we have seen before, allowing Clement and Waititi to put their own spin on a rivalry immortalised in fantasy fiction. Anyone looking for a gory, funny, and innovative film need look no further; What We Do in the Shadows is it.
Katrina Davies ’18