Film review: What We Do in the Shadows

Starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Rhys Darby, Jonathan Brugh

Best known for their work on HBO’s hit TV series Flight of the Conchords, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi have teamed up once again to create their most ludicrous concept to date: a mockumentary following five vampire flatmates living normal, night-to-night lives in the quiet suburbs of Wellington, NZ.

Biting deep into the humour vein, What We Do in the Shadows delivers a spray of heart-pounding hilarity we’ve all come to expect from these Kiwi masters of comedy.

Loaded with hysterical sketches, the film comes together like an impromptu performance. Though clearly there’s much more to this simple story than it seems.

It’s Shawn of the Dead meets Twilight… Well, not quite.

Viago (Waititi) the soft-spoken dandy runs the house with chaotic order, fussing over daily chores ignored by his immortal housemates. Vladislav (Clement) has a disturbing penchant for torture, while Deacon (Brugh) the young 289 year old, is a rebellious troublemaker, fighting household rules at every turn.

Any semblance of normality comes undone for these oddballs when Petyr, the fourth, ancient housemate, bites a young human visitor, turning him into a cool, vivacious vampire. As it turns out, this is exactly what the stale house needs and everyone except Deacon, who becomes insatiably jealous, welcomes the fresh new blood.

As tempers flare, and rifts appear between old mates, the arrival of local werewolf-pack, lead by alpha-male Anton (Darby), certainly adds more heat to the out of control Hellfire. If the boys can’t learn to play nice and suck it up, there’ll be a sticky end for all.

Shot as a fake documentary, the film is visually raw, layered with an eerily titillating soundtrack spinning and scratching on the old gramophone.

Guaranteed to have you in tears of laughter from the opening credits, What We Do in the Shadows proves there’s one thing these Kiwi’s do well, and that’s comedy!


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