In March I saw a little movie that made me laugh a lot harder than I’d anticipated. I wrote a draft of a review, but never finished it, and for that I have my then-obsession with The Bravermans to blame. I’m now binging Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so that, paired with the announcement that the film reviewed below will have a sequel, made me want to bring this review to light. That pun will be funny in just a second.
It’s been too long, and for that I have Parenthood to blame. This Sunday, though, I managed to ignore the Bravermans and see What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary created by the geniuses behind Flight of the Conchords and Eagle vs Shark— Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, respectively. I was afraid that not having a steep interest in vampires (scratch that, any interest) in vampires would stop me from enjoying Shadows, but I was wrong.
The film consists of a handful of vampires living inside a creepy, run-down house in a New Zealand town where, yes, other vampires preside. But they still need to stay undercover. Shadows takes the often told troubles of a vampire (no reflection, can’t see sunlight, has to be invited in) and makes them the most modern I’ve seen– without reflections, the roommates model outfits for each other before hitting the town, where they hope they’ll actually be invited into a club, for example. Sure, there are Dracula references, but there’s also a joke about The Lost Boys. New vampire Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) introduces himself to girls as “that guy from Twilight.” All references are fair game, and used hilariously.
While Clement’s Vladislav is the typical, over-sexed vampire, Waititi’s heartbroken Viago made me laugh the most. He’s saved a locket from his one true (and notably human) love, but it’s made of silver so he can’t wear it for long without burning himself. When he discovers how exactly to use the internet thanks to Nick’s mortal friend Stu (played tremendously by Stuart Rutherford), Viago prints out her picture to keep in his coffin. He also begins watching YouTube videos of the sunrise. As ignorant as these ancient vampires can be, they have some wits about them (hello, the aforementioned YouTube loophole), like noting a vampire hunter’s “stake” is really a table leg, so harmless.
The plot is loose but the comedy is sharp– and sometime’s that’s all you need.