Thursday, May 21, 2015

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (Review)

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed and written by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brough, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Ben Fransham, Stuart Rutherford
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To begin this review of Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi's What We Do in the Shadows with cliche vampire puns (i.e. "this is a movie with bite," or "here's a vampire comedy that doesn't suck") would do an unforgivable disservice to the level of wit, humour, and charm on display in this awesome vampire mockumentary. Based on a ridiculously simple premise -- what if a bunch of vampires were followed by a documentary film crew? -- What We Do in the Shadows absolutely elevates its material with fantastically funny performances, hilarious horror hi jinks, and that wonky Flight of the Concords wit without ever losing sight of the emotional center at stake. (I'm so sorry....)


What We Do in the Shadows is This is Spinal Tap meets Dark Shadows
Vampires live among us, but you know what? They're not as suave as the movies make them out to be. Vampire flatmates Viago (Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brough), Vladislav (Clement), and Petyr (Ben Fransham) are the subject of a documentary about the undead living in New Zealand. Despite their ageless power, the foursome struggle to fit in with the modern life they left behind. Viago's an 18th century German dandy and anal-retentive neat freak. Deacon's a turn of the century wildman. Vladislav's a medieval tyrant. Petyr's an ancient basement-dwelling nosferatu ghoul. So when it comes to paying rent, doing the dishes, or deciding on the best nightclub to stalk, you know that flareups are bound to happen. By flipping the cool and romantic image of the vampire on its head, What We Do in the Shadows explores the squabbles and nuisances of everyday urban life from the point of view of these out-of-touch and out-of-their-minds bloodsuckers.

Nobody said being a vampire was easy.
Rife with gags and improvised tangents, What We Do in the Shadows is the vampire comedy I never knew I wanted. It finds endless fun in exploiting vampire genre conventions while also remaining reverent to the decades of vampire lore in fiction and film without a hint of ironic condescension. When a botched dinner / massacre accidentally turns a would-be-meal (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into a new vampire, the film really gets hilarious as the newbie introduces the guys to the wonders of the interent, selfies, and the modern nightclub scene. New Zealand is known for producing some great horror-comedies (Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, evil animal film Black Sheep, the recent comedy thriller Housebound come to mind), and What We Do in the Shadows is so on-point that it easily joins the ranks of these killer Kiwi cult films.

When 8000 years old you reach, look as good  you will not.
What We Do in the Shadows is currently available on VOD and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray May 26th from Video Services Corp loaded with over 100 minutes of bonus features including unused interviews, deleted scenes, and promo videos. Rise up from your coffins and tombs to pre-order your copy today.

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