What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

 

Debuting today on VOD and iTunes with a blu-ray and DVD release next week on the 26, is this laugh-filled fang-fest from New Zealand.

Shot as a documentary, the film follows a group of vampires around modern-day Wellington as they struggle with divvying up chores, keeping blood off the couch, sweeping up spinal cords, finding the right vein, establishing their look, and trying to get invited in to nightclubs.

The cast, and vampire type is varied, with very apparent nods being made to every nosferatu to ever crawl from his coffin and glide across the silver screen. There is lovelorn Viago (Taika Waititi), stylish and losing his hypnotic touch, Vladislav (Jemain Clement), the ‘bad boy’ of the group, who can’t clean up after himself, Deacon (Jonathan Brough) who is exploiting his familiar Jackie (Jacki van Beek), recently turned and can’t keep his mouth shut Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) with his human pal Stu (Stuart Rutherford), and the ancient and surly, Petyr (Ben Fransham).

Bloody, and wonderfully quirky, this film leaves no vampire cliché unstaked as the film documents the ins and outs of their undead lives as the much-anticipated annual Unholy Masquerade approaches.

Clement and Waititi, who not only star and direct, but also wrote this film, have filled it with priceless moments, and great laughs without a beat missed. All of the leads sink their teeth into their roles, from bat fights to werewolves to Twilight, nothing is left untouched.

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As the party draws closer, problems arise within this strange family group, and a falling out seems inevitable, unless personal, and literal demons (or vampires and vampire hunters) are confronted and laid to their eternal rest.

It’s very hard not to be completely charmed by this film, and as soon as it was done, I wanted to throw it in again because I knew for every line I laughed aloud it, I must have missed dozens more. The film wanders happily from broad comedy as Viago chooses the wrong vein again or playing with the idea of no reflections in mirrors, to little sly nods to other cinematic nightwalkers like Vladislav’s hair style, echoing that of the lead vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula or blatant references to my personal vampire favorite, The Lost Boys.

While there isn’t much in the way of plot, the film more than makes up for it with great effects, brilliant lines, and a wonderful sense of the absurd (the scariest thing about being a vampire is doing the dishes).

This one has to go down as a must-see for comedy lovers, or those who profess to love a good vampire film, because this is undeniably both, and is completely engaging. You can check it out today on VOD and iTunes, or wait a week and pick up a blu-ray or DVD copy and enjoy all the fun extras that some with it as well.

Bloody good fun!

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