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‘What We Do In The Shadows’ Review: A Standout Vampire Mockumentary

what we do in the shadows

“What are we?” “Werewolves, not Swearwolves.” 

What We Do In The Shadows focuses on all kinds of creatures of the night: vampires, werewolves and drunken humans, following a house of blood-suckers: Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonny Brugh) and Vlad (Jemaine Clement), as they squabble over the chore wheel in their Wellington flat.

Life has become a little tired for the group (the oldest resident, Petyr, is an 8000 year old vampire), but the gang get reinvigorated after Petyr brings new blood to the flat after turning 20-something Nick into one of their own, with Nick in turn bringing life and light — in the form of an Internet connection and texting — to the undead’s stale lives.

Filmed in a documentary style, What We Do In The Shadows doesn’t at all take its vampire mythology seriously. And in an era bloated with vampire media, that’s the best (and funniest) move that the film could have made. Instead, writer/directors Waititi and Clement reduce their protagonists to fussy old men that can’t quite get with the times that they now live in. Nick, not so long dead as the others, brings with him his human best friend, Stu, a computer geek that all of the vampires quickly become fond of as he shows them how to text, use Skype, and even get them into those nightclubs that they’ve never been able to get invited into.

But in a world with not only vampires but werewolves too (Rhys Darby leading the pack of such breakout characters that Waititi and Clement are considering a sequel focusing on them), having a close relationship with the undead is never safe for a human — not even a decidedly nice one like Stu.

So between all of the jokes about sharing your house with a group of undead, outdated and unfashionable flatmates, a bigger question emerges: can New Zealand’s vampires, werewolves and humans all put aside their differences to get along? When you’re not dying from laughter, What We Do In The Shadows answers that question.

What We Do In The Shadows is available on Amazon and iTunes now.