Film review: What We Do in the Shadows, a hilarious vampire mockumentary
This vampire parody transcends its one-joke nature to yield extended hilarity. Co-helmed by Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords ' Jemaine Clement — the writer-director and lead actor of 2007's Eagle vs Shark — this mockumentary is easily the new milestone of a New Zealand horror comedy tradition made infamous by Peter Jackson's Braindead.
Shadows chronicles the everyday life of four vampires sharing a flat in modern-day Wellington: Viago (Waititi), a lovesick dandy with a Nazi past; the torture-loving Vladislav (Clement); Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), who hasn't done the "bloody dishes" in five years; and the 8,000-year-old Petyr (Ben Fransham), who doesn't get out much.
Purportedly shot by "The New Zealand Documentary Board", the film hangs its parade of jokes on a nominal storyline: they hold flat meetings, roam nightspots in town and welcome guests home as food, in the process taking in the new vamp Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) and befriending the human Stu (Stuart Rutherford), a mind-numbingly dull software analyst.
It all culminates in the Unholy Masquerade, an annual party for eclectic types of undead where Stu's rosy cheeks do not go unnoticed. Amid side-splitting gags involving YouTube clips of sunrises, the bloodsuckers' rivalry with werewolves, and their sartorial pursuits, Shadows thrives on its deadpan delivery of the silliest of materials.
What We Do in the Shadows opens on July 30