Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows (2015)

What We Do in the Shadows (2015) written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Mockumentaries have been an extremely popular genre since the cult success of This is Spinal Tap. What We Do in the Shadows is a faux documentary following four Wellington, New Zealand, flatmates who are vampires. They have typical roommate problems: Deacon doesn't do the dishes, Vladislav made a mess of Viago's antique couch when he killed a victim, etc. They have trouble going out at night too: their various fashion senses haven't kept up with the times (they range from 150 to 900 years old), they can't even check themselves in the mirror, they can't get in anywhere unless they are specifically invited (makes it hard to go clubbing, or even to fast food joints). They try to help each other out by giving fashion feedback or having each other's backs when they run into a pack of werewolves. The vampires have the interesting, quirky challenges and character traits that documentary film makers love to chronicle. The show builds up to them attending the annual Wellington Unholy Masquerade (a gathering of vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.).

The movie does a great job mocking vampire mythology, housemate problems, and documentary conventions.  Best of all, the characters come off as real people with likable and unlikable qualities. They have triumphs, set-backs, and tragedies. All are played with good humor. The movie moves quickly too (it's only 85 minutes long) so things stay fresh and fun.

It's a delightful, light comedy about vampires living in and dealing with modern day problems and people.

I heard about this movie at B-Movie Catechism which has yet to steer me wrong (I wouldn't have seen Ex Machina or It Follows with his recommendation-I-'m on the hunt for Bone Tomahawk now).

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