This is, hands down, one of the funniest vampire movies I have ever seen. Just the way Shaun of the Dead is the pinnacle of Zombie Rom-Coms, (by which all other zombie comedies will be measured and found wanting), What We Do In The Shadows will do the same for vampire movies.
Its okay if you don’t like scary movies. This is more comedy than horror. There’s very little gore and it takes all of the various tropes of the vampire film, turns them upside down, and shakes the lunch money out of its pockets.
It’s filmed mockumentary style. Now I know a lot of people are tired of the whole shaky cam thing, but that’s kept to a minimum, so you spend more time concentrating on the story and the minimal plot. I say minimal because its just a series of adventures, of the main characters, in their day to day lives.
A quartet of vampires have decided to share a house in modern new Zealand. I think they’re in Wellington and there are various kinds of people they meet and situations they get themselves into. All of the types of vampires are represented, as they all hail from different eras of human history, (and as a result, different eras of vampire history.)
There’s the 8,000 year old Petyr ,who looks like Count Orlock from Nosferatu. He’s the oldest of them and hence the least civilized.The other three, Vadislav (862 yrs. old) is from 16th century Russia, and reminds me of the old school Dracula films, Viago (379 yrs. old) looks like he’s from the Hammer film era, and Deacon (183 yrs. old) is very much in the mold of the Anne Rice; Interview with the Vampire style.
They still mostly dress in the eras in which they were born and you would think they would look out of place, wandering the streets of Wellington at night, except they don’t, really. They look a little pimpish, but that’s about it.
They spend their time trying to interact and adapt to the modern world, although they still can’t go out in daylight and they still kill people. One of the vampires, Deacon, has a human servant named Jackie, who runs any errands they need during the day, but she’s becoming very upset that her master won’t turn her and keeps avoiding the subject.
She also procures victims for them and in a hilarious scene sends her ex-boyfriend, Nick, to them to be eaten. She is, of course, very put out when he gets turned by Petyr and gets accepted by the other vampires.
Nick, new to the whole vampire-thing, keeps telling everyone he meets, that he’s a vampire, including his friend Stu. Stu is just some regular schmo, hanging out with these very strangely dressed, and behaving, characters, while wearing khakis, and getting the vampires their computer hook up.
Because Nick can’t keep his mouth shut, it attracts a vampire hunter, who kills Petyr by exposing him to sunlight. The police get called and Viago has to hypnotize them into not noticing anything weird in the house, which includes dead bodies and flying roommates. After this, a meeting is held and Nick gets kicked out of the house, but Stu is still welcome to hang out.
They keep running into a werewolf gang while walking the streets, (they really don’t do much beyond exchanging hilariously lame insults), get invited to a masquerade ball, where Vadislav sees his ex-girlfriend, Pauline, whom he has nicknamed The Beast, discover that Nick has turned Jackie into a vampire, and when the other party-goers find out that there are humans at the party, they must try to escape, when the other vampires plan to kill and eat them.
Everyone escapes the party, but Stu and the cameraman get attacked by werewolves in the forest, afterwards. Later, the vampires find out that Stu is now a werewolf. He eventually facilitates a reconciliation between the vamps and weres, and finishes teaching the vampires how to adapt to the twenty first century.
Its not just the adventures they get into that makes this movie so funny. Its full of plenty of sight gags, two vampires air-fighting in the house, Deacon’s Skype reunion with a very old human servant, and the youngest vampire’s inability to tap the right blood vessel in his victims necks, so that they bleed out all over the room, before he can get to drink.
This was not what I expected when I started watching this movie, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I expected more intellectual humor, and there’s plenty of that, but there’s many different types of humor in the movie.
This is more along the lines of a love-letter to many of the silly tropes of vampire movies. You really do care about these vampires, who turn out to be very sweet and endearing, despite that they do kill people. The characters are never dumbed-down or made fun of, nor is the genre from which they were created.
This one is definitely going on my favorites list.
3 thoughts on “Geeking Out About: What We Do In The Shadows (2014)”
My husband and I really enjoyed this one!
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Yes, I found Vadislav pretty sexy, too. I think its the hair. But I also really liked Viago, who I thought was bumbling and sweet.
Yes! I loved this one – ‘Werewolves, not swearwolves’ is a thing my friends and I say now.
I loved that it tied all the different vampire types together and Petyr was the weirdo creepy room mate in the basement.
Also Jemaine Clement was hot.
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