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

12 Comments on “What We Do In The Shadows [2014]

  1. I’m kind of mad after reading this review. I could have seen this at Midnight Madness (TIFF) Friday night…but I skipped it and went to a karaoke bar instead. The concept did not look or sound overly interesting to me. What a bad move on my part…


    • that is pretty damned cool that it was playing there though! It was only made just a short ways away from me in NZ yet it still is only screening in one cinema here. It’ll be worth the wait til ya see it mate, this one was the best ‘comedy’ I have seen since ‘The Wolf on Wall Street’, and it is so far ahead of any other comedy released this year its ridiculous.


  2. “This thing felt that it was running on all cylinders for the entire movie.”

    That’s what I think I appreciate most about it. Most comedies, particularly American comedies, intentionally hit comedic brakes when the movie hits the final act, to allow for some resemblance of more narratively interested films. But this just goes straight forward with more and more comedy, and the story never suffers.

    Glad I found this review, which echoes everything I feel about the movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, thanks for reading mate! I agree with ya, and also with what you wrote in your write-up – this has so many jokes to spare! No trailer could ruin this by showing all the funny parts as the entire thing is hilarious! And it certainly doesn’t stop until the credits like you said.



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  8. Great review! For me, this film has infinite rewatchability. It’s goofy, offbeat, totally quotable and it has a great cast of characters. I like Viago (the ‘camp’ vampire, as you said) best. My sister, age eleven, is very pedantic and fussy about doing things right so she reminds me of him a little at his most compulsive. I watched this one like five times in one month. It’s probably one of my three favorite movies, my favorite vampire flick after “Let the Right One In.” I just think it’s really wonderful. Bye!

    P.S. My sister actually watched this. She busted a gut when Viago bit the main artery on the unfortunate victim… should we be concerned? 😛 This is the girl who usually hates horror movies and fusses over which movies are ‘too bloody’ for her.

    Liked by 1 person

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