What We Do in the Shadows review by Michelle Sommerville - Cinema Paradiso
Finally we have a vampire comedy that is actually good! What We Do In The Shadows is a fantastic new production out of New Zealand. I give it four out of five stars because it is one of those films that seems to get everything right.
What We Do In The Shadows follows Viago, Deacon, Vladislav, and Petyr in a fake-documentary format. They are four - evidently kooky - vampires who share a flat and the waking afterlife. Living in modern times with a healthy lust for human blood is difficult enough, but when one turns a human into a vampire, the whole house dynamic is thrown into chaos.
While it seems like a simple story idea - and it pretty much is - it is still entertaining. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, so mixing time periods is something I’m familiar with, but this story did it in a different and engaging way.
I hadn’t heard of any of these actors before (except for those of Flight of the Concords fame), and yet they are now on my radar.
The visual effects weren’t anything you would see in Hollywood feature films, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t good. The ‘tricks’ worked, and you would have a hard time picking holes in them.
It is a very weird thing to say that they accurately portrayed comical vampires through their dialogue, but writers Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement (also the directors and stars) pulled it off. They combined modern characters with those from a very different generation.
A few years ago, spoof films were made and released left, right, and centre. They were absolutely everywhere...and none of them were funny. So, you could imagine my surprise when my neighbour New Zealand created this hilarious work. True, most of the jokes are corny, but it really does work. It is also no surprise that the film has been well received by audiences, as it began by utilising the crowd funding website Kickstarter.
As I said before, audience reviews have been very positive. The classic New Zealand comedy style has translated well, showing its universality. Its writing has been widely called ‘smart’, with the only faults being that it might not be loved by everyone (what film is?!).
What We Do In The Shadows, if you are of the allowed age, is a film I highly recommend you check out. It’s funny, the characters are well-created, and the story wasn’t sacrificed for jokes. The film also deserves extra credit for coming from such small roots. So everyone, watch out for more fantastic New Zealand productions.