What We Do In The Shadows is a mockumentary horror comedy written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi and stars Clement, Waititi and Jonny Brugh as three classic vampires who share a house in modern day New Zealand. The camera crew follow and interview Viago (Waitit), Deacon (Brugh) and Vladislav (Clement) and others as they try to attract pray, deal with vampire hunters, and hide in society, while also dealing with modern life and the stresses of house-sharing. It is a very funny and original and is full of heart, it never feels cliché or cheesy, it is a really enjoyable film.
The film combines mockumentary comedy and bloody horror very well. While the film is never actually scary, it is very gruesome and makes fun of the elements of horror filmmaking that are common today, especially in found footage horror movies. Examples of this are in the “intense” scenes when the vampires are chasing there victims through the house, it has the cuts and shaky cam and “jump scares” that horror films tend to rely too heavily on, but in this film the jump scares aren’t jumpy but hilarious as the vampires are rather mediocre vampires. I’m a big fan of mockumentaries and this film uses the style to its full potential!
The film is hilarious throughout. The whole environment and concept is brilliantly funny, as its in modern day New Zealand with very old school vampires trying to fit in and find prey in today’s modern culture. The world is full of them and other monsters like Zombies and Witches as well, my favourite one being the pack of Werewolves who appear every so often and are mocked by the vampires. Watching vampires who have been alive since medieval times try to use a computer or pick up girls in a night club (to drink there blood of course) is really entertaining and a genius idea for a film. These aren’t like Twilight vampires who fit in easily, these are proper old school vampires; they incinerate in the sun and must be invited into a building before they can enter, and everything else you’d expect from real vampires. They dress in Victorian style clothes and have no reflections to see if they look good, so just watching them get ready for a night out is so funny! The whole premise of the film is executed brilliantly and makes it very entertaining and original.
The characters are great fun and very well acted to bring out the comedy of the script. Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are all unique, superbly written and amazingly performed. The actors have a terrific chemistry and make perfect roommates, showing both the friendship and frustration anyone, vampire or human, could have when very different personalities live together. Just watching these three argue over who has to do the dishes is hilarious and would be even if they weren’t vampires, but it’s even funnier that they are. My favourite of the three is definitely Viago (Waititi) as he is so cute and loveable but also very particular and sensitive so you can understand why the others get annoyed at him a lot. The characters give this film so much heart and make it so enjoyable to watch. I feel like it’s the actors and characters, along with amazingly written dialogue that feels so real, that elevates this film above its quite simple premise and stop it being just another generic vampire movie. It is instead very enjoyable and heartfelt and you feel genuinely connect to these characters. I think these are the most loveable vampires ever put to film, I’d want to hang out with them even if it meant them hypnotising me and draining my blood!
What We Do In The Shadows is one of the best vampire films of the 21st century and is both a homage to the classics vampires like Dracula, and a very original, entertaining horror comedy. Great style, hilarious world, and loveable characters.
P.S. It is a really sweet film that anyone can watch, it makes me laugh and it makes me feel all warm inside at times, which is weird for a film about blood sucking monsters, but oh well haha.