February 9, 2015 What We Do in the Shadows (Movie Review)
Prepare to be terrified with the upcoming release of Horror Comedy, What We Do in the Shadows, by Unison Films and Defender Films on the February 13, 2015. Starring Taika Waititi (Green Lantern 2010, Super City 2011) as Viago, and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Men in Black 3 2012) as Vladislav, who both wrote and directed the movie. A Mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows was filmed in New Zealand and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014, to positive responses, and once the movie begins it is easy to see why. What We Do in the Shadows is filmed in Lost Footage style, which is where the similarities to other Horror movies end.
Meet three-hundred and seventy-nine year old vampire named Viago, who has just woken from sleeping all day. Viago and his housemates have agreed to allowing a reality film crew into their lives for a few days as they prepare for an ancient custom, a vampire ball. Viago narrates his day as it begins by waking his friends. He has three housemates, Vladislav who is over eight-hundred years old, eighty-three year old Deacon (Jonathan Brugh: The Almighty Johnsons 2011, How to Meet Girls from a Distance 2012) and Petyr (Ben Fransham: Heavenly Creatures 1994, 30 Days of Night 2007). Petyr is an Orlok-like inhuman vampire that rents out the basement, and does not play well with others. Deacon perpetually looks sixteen, though, sixteen when he died looks a lot like forty-five in modern times. The crew become aware that there are a few issues when cohabiting with other vampires, especially ones as old and strange like Petyr.
The housemates all find it difficult at times adapting to modern life, but they seem to make it up as they go along. Viago seems to be the unspoken leader of the house, and he tries to address the household issues in regular house meetings, which never go to plan. Viago tries to maintain a balance between them all, but does not seem to get very far. Despite these difficulties, he continues on with his routine. The first night the crew films, the viewer is introduced to another mutual friend of the vamps, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer: Hounds 2012, A Night at the Classic 2012) who has recently been bitten and is being introduced to the vampire lifestyle. Nick is having trouble learning how to fly, and getting through the lounge room window provides more complicated than he expected. He soon becomes a regular member of the gang of vamps, though as a recent addition, he seems a little out of place.
As the men get ready to go out to clubs, they are oddly faced with fashion dilemmas, and plenty of hissy fits ensue. When they finally do make it out, they run into other vampires, and the dreaded werewolves lead by Anton (Rhys Darby: Missing Christmas 2012, Keep Calm and Karey On 2013), the Alpha Male. This creates further funny and strange situations. When Viago brings a woman home for a quick meal, he forgets to put newspaper down before he bites her and accidentally hits the jugular vein. This embarrasses him. From experience, he has learnt that blood is incredibly difficult to get out of furniture, and it is something he usually berates his housemates for. Viago is also concerned that if she does not die and is turned, he may be stuck with her, so much for a one night stand. Between random drop ins, reality TV shows, finding the right outfit, trying to look good for the cameras, and fighting off impending attacks by enemies, Viago has a lot more stress than the average vampire as the big night of the ball draws closer.
Exceptionally acted by the people responsible for Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009), and Horror film Diagnosis Death (2009), What We Do in the Shadows is a refreshing addition to the Horror genre. The special effects are simple and minimalist, but incredibly effective. New Zealand continues to offer innovative and amusing Horror films, such as Housebound, keeping the viewer glued to their seat, as well as highly entertained. Utilising the cover of darkness, the cinematography by Richard Bluck (The Lovely Bones 2009, Avatar 2009) and D.J. Stipsen (The Factory 2013, 3 Mile Limit 2014) is suitably creepy and draws the viewer right into the story. The musical score by Plan B Music (Antarctica: A Year on Ice 2013, Mutant Planet 2014) helps create the darkness surrounding Viago and his fiends, or are they friends? The unexpected addition of humour shines a light through the innovative storyline. Fast paced and wickedly clever, What We Do in the Shadows is an unexpected pleasure, a true Horror comedy that takes the viewer by surprise. Hilariously funny, quirky, and silly, What We Do in the Shadows is a must watch for all fans. CrypticRock gives What We Do in the Shadows 5 out of 5 stars.