ByJoe Friar, writer at


What We Do In The Shadows (2015)

Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Rhys Darby

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Vampires may be played out but this fresh new comedy from New Zealander's Jemaine Clement (HBO's Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi ("Eagle vs Shark" and "Boy") does for bloodsuckers what Mel Brooks did for Frankenstein and Edgar Wright did for zombies. Think of this mockumentary as the Spinal Tap of vampire films.

A documentary camera crew is given immunity by four vampire flat-mates living in Wellington, New Zealand to document their lives as they prepare for the upcoming Unholy Masquerade Ball. The youngest is 183 year old Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) who dresses like an empire-era rock star, refuses to do the dishes (they've piled up for 5 years), and loves to knit. Then you have 379 year old Viago (Taika Waititi), a neat freak who calls meetings to discuss the chores and complain about the other vampires spilling blood on his antique couch. When one of the vampires asks "you mean the red one?" Viago responds with "well it is now."

Next up is 862 year old Vladislav The Poker (Impaler was taken) who claims to have been turned into a vampire when he was only 16 although he looks 30. He also points out that 16 year-olds had a hard life during the Middle Ages. At one time Vladislav was so powerful he could hypnotize an entire massive crowd, these days he's a little rusty as he lurks outside the windows of potential victims while chanting "see me" and when the humans won't look up he has to resort to tapping on the glass to get their attention. Very funny.

Finally the fourth flat-mate is 8,000 year old Petyr (Ben Fransham) who resembles Nosferatu and sleeps in a stone crypt. He's so old the other vampires don't mess with him and when their human friend Stu (Stuart Rutherford) starts hanging out at the house, Viago nicely asks Petyr not to turn him because Stu is a vegetarian.

There are some great gags and hilarious moments that involve werewolves, lines from The Lost Boys, and a newbie vamp named Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) who loves to brag that he's THE vampire from Twilight. The dialogue in the film is just as sharp and funny as Guest, McKean, Shearer, and Reiner's Spinal Tap screenplay or anything written by Mel Brooks, and the special effects are ideal for this comedy as hidden wires hoist the vampires when they fly much like the Broadway version of Peter Pan, well maybe not that elaborate.


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