What We Do in the Shadows

This film is a mockumentary about vampires living together in a sharehouse in modern day New Zealand. It is hilarious.

The vampires’ hammy Transylvanian accents and lace-cuffed Dracula outfits are set against the backdrop of a grubby house and half-empty nightclubs in downtown Wellington. They have funny encounters with modern technology. There are fight scenes with animal transformations and flying that still manage to be sublimely uncool.

But as the vampires’ ever-excluded slave/housewife-without-benefits Jackie comments (in slightly more bitter, obscene terms), this is mostly the story of the deep, fragile bonds between men.

These men include Viago, a sensitive peace-maker and enforcer of household chores. Co-creator Taika Waititi plays him brilliantly: he has great chemistry with the others, bringing together their performances in much the same gentle, insisting way that Viago brings the vamps together for flat meetings. And fellow creator Jemaine Clement takes full advantage of his disturbing sexual aura in his role as Vladislav. The story of their friendship with their other housemates unfolds as a new vampire joins them and upsets the delicate balance of the group in his urge to be accepted. You will laugh and sigh as they negotiate their relationships and affections and afflictions.

The language is pitch-perfect for documentary, and every character fits. Flight of the Conchords fans will especially enjoy glimpses of Rhys Darby as the alpha male of a werewolf pack struggling to overcome their baser urinating, stick-chasing instincts. (They are also struggling to avoid destroying all their good trousers during the full moon. The trick is stretchy tracksuit pants, guys!).

There were some gory bloody bits which were funny but too disgusting for me, but that’s my only complaint. Here is the preview (with quite a few bits of plot in it):

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