What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Jackie van Beek
Directed by: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark; Boy)
Synopsis: A mock documentary (a mockumentary, if you will, I just made that up) about centuries-old vampires living as flatmates in modern-day Wellington, New Zealand.
- The characters are so rich and fleshed out you actually care about them and what happens to them, which is extraordinarily rare for a movie associated with the horror genre made in the 2010s. These guys are immortal but vulnerable, and while they’re incredibly powerful they don’t really fit in anymore.
- The actors are all basically perfect in their roles, even though you likely have never heard of any of them aside from maybe Jemaine Clement, and only because he was the villain in Men In Black III.
- While it’s not really a guffaw-fest per se, it is consistently funny throughout, and intelligent in its humor, another rarity for a spoof these days.
- There are some surprisingly good special effects in this on what I assume was a tiny budget that really add to the scenes, like the guys turning into bats, Vlad’s face on a cat, and fighting on the walls and ceiling that was just as effective as Inception.
What doesn’t work:
- This is just a little nitpicking, but for a thinking man such as myself, I couldn’t help but wonder about things like how they didn’t know about computers and television, since they do go out and integrate with society at night, surely they would have seen cell phones and TVs before. And they don’t want to attract attention to the fact that they’re vampires, but wear garb like they’re in George Washington’s marching band. Obviously the costumes help establish their characters, but it made my head itch a bit.
- This may be slightly spoilery, but the vampires take their human friend, Stu, to an undead ball, and try to hide the fact that he’s human from the other vampires and zombies there, but the cameramen are human too, and they don’t seem to really take any notice of them. It is slightly addressed by Vlad, but it seems like they would notice them first before Stu. Again, not that important.
Deacon: “I think we drink virgin blood because it sounds cool.”
Vladislav: “I think of it like this. If you are going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it.”
Overall: I really enjoyed this picture, and you will too goofy-but-smart (goofart? needs work.) comedy that is actually made for adults. Even if you’re not a fan of vampires or New Zealanders, there’s no reason you shouldn’t like this. I highly recommend it especially for the Halloween season, which will be my last movie recommendation for the next month… (Schlocktoberfest 5 coming Thursday!)
Score: 8 virgin sandwiches (out of 10)