A lot of you may not know about this little gem. And I must admit, I had never heard of it before either, but the minds behind it are some of the most renowned comedic (and non-comedic) minds working today.
What We Do in the Shadows is a hilarious mockumentary that came out in 2014 that was written, stars, and is directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. If those names sound familiar, there is a good reason. Jemaine Clement is one of the two founders of Flight of the Concords, and Taika Waititi is best known for directing Thor: Ragnarok and wrote and directed last year’s Jojo Rabbit. That is to say, there is a wealth of talent amongst the minds behind this film.
As I said, What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary, but unlike many others, this one follows four vampire roommates as they live in a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. Most of the action is focused on three of them: Viago (Waititi), Vlad (Clement), and Deacon. The fourth member is an 8,000-year-old vampire who lives in the basement and is generally reclusive (his name is Peter).
Every night, the three roommates take a bus into town and look for people to kill and eat. They are accompanied by Deacon’s familiar (assistant/servant) Jackie, who hopes to become a vampire herself one day. For now, she has to help lure people (preferably virgins) back to the flat, and she has to clean up all of the messes for their various attacks and killings. A camera crew follows them day-to-day as they do chores, hunt virgins, and fight with their nemesis: werewolves.
The best aspect of this film is the way they make the lives of vampires simultaneously seem interesting and supernatural (they all have powers such as hypnotism and levitation), but at the same time, their lives seem so mundane. They go through everyday things we all do, like which roommate is responsible for cleaning the dishes and cleaning. At times, their interactions with humans are touching, but those interactions also point to a disconnect from what they were previously.
The production of this film is pretty good. Considering the film was made on a limited budget in 2014, they undoubtedly rival anything you can see from a studio production (at least a SyFy channel production), and what they lacked in budget, they make up for in creative editing and directions. With a talented director like Waititi at the helm, it really shines through here, and the creativity is quite impressive.
The video quality is also outstanding. It appears to have been cleaned up from the original release. The color balance is done well (overall, it’s a pretty dark film visually), and the sound effects, dialogue, and music are well-balanced. Overall, this is a definite must-have for your Halloween movie collection, especially in the Halloween comedy genre.
What We Do in the Shadows is currently available from Allied Vaughn and can be ordered online in places like Amazon.com.
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