One night after nostalgia struck me and I watched This Is Spinal Tap on Netflix, I popped in this vampire “mockumentary” in for a spin.
As it turns out, What We Do in the Shadows is the hilarious vampire cousin of Spinal Tap.
Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh and Ben Fransham play New Zealand vampires of various ages living in a house together. Waititi is Viago, the fussy one trying to get everybody to comply with house rules. (One of them hasn’t done the bloody dishes in five years.) Clement plays Vladislav the Poker; Brugh is Deacon (the bad boy), and Fransham plays the 800-year-old, straight-up Nosferatu demon in the basement.
A camera crew of humans is inexplicably following them around as they do things like have fights in the hallway or venture into town to go bar-hopping. They eventually indoctrinate a new vampire, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), who they regard as somewhat of a downer. Nick does have a cool human friend named Stu (Stu Rutherford); the other vampires like having him around until they have an unfortunate run-in with a pack of werewolves.
Much of the humor involves all the usual vampire tropes, but Clement and Waititi (who co-wrote and co-directed the film) make everything seem fresh. The film also has its fair share of gore (especially when some neck bites get extra messy) and decent scares.
It’s one of the year’s funniest movies, and a sure bet for horror-comedy fans who go for films like Evil Dead 2 and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.
Special Features: The disc is packed with supplements, including a Clement/Waititi commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes looks and the short film that inspired the movie.