On The Small Screen Reviews

Taika Tuesday: What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

by Cookie N Screen

Vampires. Man, they suck. By 2014, we’d certainly had our fill of them. They were just bloody everywhere. Horror films, romance films, Young Adult films, every single connotation of the fanged fiends had been portrayed on the big screen. We’d had enough. But, a plucky director from New Zealand had decided to do a mockumentary about blood-suckers in a flat share and, honestly, it is one of the most genius films you’ll ever watch.

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This mockumentary coming from the creators of ingenious film Eagle Vs Shark centres on a household of vampires who have allowed the crew to follow them around. There is Viago, the dandy nice vamp of the group. Deacon, the youngest and most rambunctious. Vlad, the seductive torturer. And Peter, the Nosferatu, 8000 years old. Like most people thrust together, the flatmates have issues living with enough but generally, they get along well. That is until Peter changes one of their victims into a vampire and the now modern and fanged Neil upsets the bat-nest. Can the vampires survive the night-time antics and shift in dynamics?

What We Do In The Shadows is one of the funniest films of 2014. The exuberance and intellect combine to drain us of laughter. Utilising the silliness that made Eagle Vs Shark such a delight and adding yet another layer of cleverness allows us to feast upon the jokes with great spirits too. Balancing the visual humour, the spark of humanity left in the vampires and the situations as the modern vampires unfold are hysterical, giving us a side of supernatural life that feels as fresh as a virgin. The aspects of the fanged life are wonderfully portrayed with this bout of glee such as drawing pictures of each other so they know what they look like (no reflection, you see.) You’ll be gutturally chortling and squealing with delight as the riotous movie hits you with joke after joke and is unrelenting in its comedy.

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Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, who write, direct and star, have created characters you invest in too. The tender Viago (Waititi) centres the film with his naivety and charm. Vlad (Clement) lost his grip on his powers after battles with the illusive Beast. Deacon is rambunctious and Neil is trying to assimilate to the blood sucking life. Played impeccably by the cast, the vampires are not only elating, but the showcase a terrific heart that, though dead to them, beats throughout the film. It’s jovial and you really invest in the characters which merges with the humour in a terrific feast of imaginative and surreal comedy.

The mockumentary works on every level and is wrapped up nicely within an hour and a half so the concept doesn’t stretch further, becoming dull. You’ll be swept up by the sharp yet daft wit presented here, leaving you with a (fanged) smile on your face, What We Do In The Shadows is jests with this Kiwi sub-culture and deliciously leaves you gagging for more treats. Feeling very Monty Python yet wholly original. The film is teeming with pop culture references, and a clash of the ancient and modern culture is smart, but most importantly funny.


Happy Taika Tuesday!
Thor: Ragnarok is out now!  

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