A film shot In the style of a mockumentary about vampires living in the modern world involving Taika Waititi, what more could you ask for. Not much cause this film will leave you with the biggest smile on your face. I mean if you’re a fan of The Office or Parks & Recreation, you’d absolutely adore this concept. With these ingredients it’s hard to understand how this film wasn’t more successful. Taika wasn’t the household name yet as when this was released we were still 3 years from Thor Ragnarok. Maybe because it’s such an obscure premise that it wasn’t on a lot of people’s radars.
It definitely wasn’t on my radar as I recently watched this movie for the first time. I heard about the show of the same name before knowing the movie existed. The show itself looks absolutely outrageous as well so it’s only right I would be interested in this. I can’t believe it took me this long to finally watch this movie after seeing it be recommended by the content creators I watch daily. If I have any influence at all of Y’all, I mean you keep coming back here to read my thoughts (I’m extremely grateful you do) you should sincerely watch this movie, it’s so worth it.
Four vampire flat mates Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr are having a documentary crew follow them around while they go about their daily dead lives. Viago calls for a flat meeting to discuss the lack of chores being done by Deacon, he’s not pulling his weight around the flat. Each night, Viago, Vladislav and Deacon choose their best outfits and go into town to find people to kill. Deacon’s familiar, Jackie is tasked to run errands and find virgins for the vampires to feed on in the hopes of gaining immortality by becoming a vampire.
Jackie (Jackie van Beek) invites her ex-boyfriend from childhood Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) and a childhood bully over to the flat. When the two learn what the vampires intend to do to them, Nick tries to run away while the other gets eaten. Since Nick tried to run, he gets attacked by Petyr (Ben Fransham) and becomes a vampire while Jackie is left to clean up the mess of the front lawn. Two months pass and Viago (Taika Waititi) Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) accept Nick into their group and by proxy, Stu (Stu Rutherford), Nick’s human friend.
The vampires take a liking to Stu as he teaches them all about modern technology especially Viago as he finds out the love of his life Katherine (Ethel Robinson) is now a widow and reconnects with his former servant Phillip. The vampires find an upside to having Nick in their clan, he can get them into all the bars and clubs, but nick is struggling to fit in with the vampires. He keeps blabbing to strangers that he is a vampire and mistakenly taunts a vampire hunter who breaks into the flat and kills Petyr during the day.
Nick gets banished from the clan as they realize Nick has a hand in Petyr’s death. Several months pass and Viago, Vlad and Deacon receive an invite to the annual unholy Masquerade hosted by the local undead population of vampires, zombies, and witches. Vlad refuses to attend the masquerade after realizing his ex-Pauline (Elena Stejko) will be the guest of honor. Deacon and Viago run into Jackie and learn Jackie is now undead, being made a vampire by Nick. The rest of the masquerade soon realize that the camera crew and Stu are all humans. The undead threaten to kill the humans but Vlad saves them and fights Pauline’s new boyfriend.
The vampires were able to escape thanks to Stu who impaled Pauline’s boyfriend Julian (Jason Hoyte). On their way home, the vampires run into a pack of werewolves during a full moon. The werewolves transform and viciously attack the cameraman and Stu. Presumed dead, the vampires mourn for their friend Stu. Some time passes and the vampires receive a message from Nick. He has come back to the flat with Stu who informs the vampires he is now a werewolf. Deacon, Vlad, and Viago reluctantly invite the werewolves into they flat and the once enemies learn how to be civil toward each other. Viago reignites his romance with Katherine and turns her into a vampire at 96 years old. Neither of them care much for the age difference.
This movies script is surprisingly intelligent and witty, and the dialogue is extraordinary for a low budget indie film. Although as outrageous as the premise is, it’s hilarious that century old vampires struggle with being mundane while adapting to modern society while sticking to their vampire impulses. The comedic timing works, and I love seeing influences from shows like The Office and Parks & Recreation.
Looking back from all the projects Taika has been involved with, you can see his evolution as a writer and director. Even though his sense of humor is extraordinarily unique, we can all relate too it pretty easily. I love how awkward all the vampires are and the incredible backstory and mythology that was created makes me want to explore more of their world. It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter how there are these societies all over the world, yet we are only introduced to one small sample of it. I want to see what the show has to offer if it takes place in a different part of the world. Regardless I will be sharing my thoughts on the show as well (you know, spice it up a bit).
Even though the budget is small, this film doesn’t feel like it. The effects were done extremely well, and the best parts of this film is when the characters are just talking to each other and taking quick, subtle jabs at each other, its brilliant. With his filmography, Taika continuously proves that he is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood as his star power and clout rises. I feel like I can’t recommend his films enough, Taika has quickly become one of my favorite directors, he seamlessly blends comedy with serious dramatic moments and I’m in awe of how he pulls it off.
Seriously, guys, see this movie, it’s bold, smart, hilarious, and charming as hell. I can’t wait for more people to discover this early film from Taika and understand his unique genius. Of course, he isn’t the only writer and director of this amazing film, Jemaine Clement should absolutely get credit for bringing this beautiful film to the world. The casting selections are simply perfect as everyone fit these roles and their chemistry with each other really stands out the most. Even with all these franchises out there in the world, this film feels like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes with comedies, the humor can feel forced, this film is not the case, the humor is effortless, and the script doesn’t reach for laughs. If I were to rate What We Do in the Shadows, I’d rate it a 4.85 out of 5, It’s THAT good.
So, tell me guys, have you seen What We Do in the Shadows and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
What We Do in the Shadows is written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement is Rated R and has an 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. What We Do in the Shadows was released on February 13th, 2015 and has a runtime of 1 hours and 27 minutes. What We Do in the Shadows can be bought online by retailers including Vudu and Itunes.
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