What We Do In The Shadows [2014]


Directed By Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

I wasn’t sure about this one, I cannot remember anything about Flight of the Concords (sp?) and comedy is a sticky thing for me. I find that I laugh out loud more often during dramas, horror, thrillers etc than comedies.. But this one surprised me.

Blade, Twilight, Werewolves, Zombies, they all make an appearance. The plot is actually quite funny in itself… it isn’t meaty by any means, but it is a joke in itself: as a documentary team follows three vampires ‘flatting’ together: one who is very… camp, shall we say, another who is self-described as being hot… because he is a vampire, of course, and another who seems like a piss-take on your stereotypical long-hair/metal-head. Oh, and an 8,000 year old friend living in the basement who doesn’t seem to possess the skills of communication.

They begin to talk the crew through how they try to socialise, which leads to some amusing scenes of vampires trying to have a nightlife. Then they talk the crew through how they capture/seduce people in order to drink their blood. More funny scenes follow, leading to one of these victims escaping from the flat. But of course he doesn’t die. He becomes the new vamp in the gang! Unfortunately he is rather thick, and when he introduces his human friend Stu to his vampire friends, you just know it’s not gonna end well. I won’t go any further, but from here the plot delves the movie into comedic chaos. I was missing jokes because I was laughing at the one previous!

I feel that because this is from New Zealand, there are no immature fart-poo-wee jokes, there aren’t any jokes that make you cringe in their lame delivery…. Even though they are throwing a lot of shit at the wall, most of it sticks. It is a fresh approach to comedy after being worn down by so many sub-par US ‘comedies’. It is also filled with comedic variety. Physical humour, plain old slapstick, facial expressions/body language (especially the camp vampire who always leads the doco crew around – his facial expressions and eye-movements when following the cameras had me holding my sides), and obviously sarcasm and satire.

This thing felt that it was running on all cylinders for the entire movie. It also manages to feel effortless; there was no sense of trying too hard for laughs – the mockumentary setting helped the film in this sense, despite the plot being thin and in itself a joke; one big piss-take. But, the wide range of comedy used, from slapstick to satire and everything in between, is probably the biggest reason why this movie does not feel forced, making way for one hilarious movie.

I walked out of this movie in pain from laughter. After only 87 minutes! The entire cinema was in stitches for the entire movie, and I saw people from all age-groups as I walked out, all with giant grins on their faces, talking about this or that scene. I’m chuckling as I am writing this as its stimulating my memory and I am seeing it in my head.

“We’re Werewolves, not Swear-wolves!!!!”

Watch this movie when you can. You will hurt from laughter. Horror comedy is notoriously hard to get right, and this film nails the formula at nearly every bend. More comedy needs to be this fresh, rather than tripe like ‘Lets Be Cops’ – just one of many US comedies that fall flat, lacking any originality. This movie couldn’t be more different. Highly recommended.


written by epilepticmoondancer