It’s not easy being a vampire, especially in modern-day Wellington, New Zealand and when being filmed for a documentary. Viago (Taika Waititi), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Petyr (Ben Fransham) are flatmates who divide their time between feeding, arguing with werewolves, and arranging housework rotas. They are also the most inept vampires the world has ever seen. When an attempt at feeding goes quite wrong, the quartet find themselves lumbered with Nick, who can’t resist informing everyone he meets about his undead nature, and Stu, his very human friend. Now the boys must survive not only Wellington’s vampire hunters but also each other.
Directed and written by Clement and Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows is a brilliant and genuinely funny film. As equally gory as it is daft, it’s impossible not to warm to the boys as they try to live night-to-night. Clubbing is a nightmare as the curse of vampirism requires the bouncers to invite them in and every mug and glass is encrusted with blood because the washing up hasn’t been done in five years. Their “rumbles” with the local pack of werewolves is a ridiculous affair involving slaps with gloves and being told off for swearing.
In a world where vampires are the epitome of “cool”, What We Do in the Shadows is a refreshing change. It’s completely self-aware and each of the leads play their part with abandon. If you love vampires, having a bit of silliness injected into the genre is long overdue, particular considering how OTT films like Twilight and Underworld became. If you hate vampires, watch it anyway and reveal in the antics of five of the uncoolest bloodsuckers walking the streets tonight.
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