Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What We Do in the Shadows (on DVD)

What We Do in the Shadows [DVD What]

This comic vampire movie had come highly recommended by some friends, so when a copy became available just before Halloween, I grabbed it. From some of the folks who produced the wry comic television limited series Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows is a film about four vampires who share a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. Shot in mockumentary style (think TV’s “The Office” or “Modern Family”), each of the vampires sits for interview segments, and we also see them interacting with each other, and the Wellington night life. The film pokes fun at standard vampire tropes, with each of the central vampires being of a different traditional type. Viago is an 18th century dandy, Vladislav is over 800 years old and older and set in his ways, Deacon is the youngest, at only 183, and has a human familiar who helps find prey (other humans) for her vampire master. And Peytr is the oldest, at over 8000, but doesn’t appear human — he’s more like Count Orlok from Nosferatu. Although there are a few bloody, gory scenes involving vampires feeding, for the most part this film is wryly humorous, having fun with standard vampire traditions, as an unseen documentary crew follows the central characters around Wellington for several months, capturing their lifestyle — and in the case of vampires who are hundreds of years old, their outdated lifestyle is having trouble meshing with modern life. Watching the vamps trying to figure out texting and the internet is hilarious

In many ways, the introduction of Stu, a human who is best friends with a newly turned vampire, Nick, is the best part of the film — everyone likes Stu just as he is…a fairly bland but friend guy, who helps all the undead with their societal issues – nobody wants him to be turned into a vampire. So, when a pack of werewolves attack Stu, the vampires all get angsty about Stu’s fate. The performances in the film are all terrific. The set design is great, with the vampires’ Wellington apartment building a marvelous combination of modern and ancient. The costume designers had a field day, and the outfits the vampires wear to go out in public every night are crazy. And the make-up is also marvelous, especially Petyr, who is incredibly creepy.

If you like your vampires with a bit of comedy, or you were fans of Flight of the Conchords, I highly recommend this quirky, offbeat horror film!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official What We Do in the Shadows web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful? 

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