Nothing goes together better than New Zealand, vampires, and Taika Waititi. At least, according to this movie.
What we do in the Shadows (2014) is a comedy/horror mockumentary directed by Jemain Clement and Taika Waititi. It stars Clement, Waititi and Jonny Brugh as three vampires living in a sharehouse together in Wellington, NZ, as they try to survive day-to-day domestic problems that come with being the demonic undead.
My god, this film is hilarious. Never have I laughed so consistently in a movie before. The characters, the situations, the dialogue all works wonders on my funny bone, turning what is an interesting yet standard idea for a mockumentary into something really special. Waititi and Clement utilise classic vampire tropes and mythos into gag after gag that pokes fun at everything from other vampire media to modern technology. Granted, the film doesn’t commit completely to the mockumentary genre, with several scenes making zero sense by having a camera man wandering around – but even these barely detract from the overall enjoyment.
And the characters! The idea of having three vampires from completely different time periods is brilliant, and each of the three leads are both distinct and highly amusing. All three actors (Waititi, Clement and Brugh) have impecable comic timing and understanding of what makes the script oh so funny, while still ensuring no-one hogs the spotlight for long. The only sore spot in the cast is Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Nick, a young guy who has to learn how to be a vampire. He’s not awful and gets plenty of funny moments, but next to the three leads Gonzalez-Macuer comes off a bit bland and stilted. But even so, that’s less to do with the pitfalls of Nick and more about the strength of the rest of the characters.
There’s not much else to say about Shadows. Its simple: if you want to laugh, watch this movie. Clever, inventive, unique and quirky, What we Do in the Shadows is everything a comedy and mockumentary should be.
General Audiences: Must-see
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended