What We Do In The Shadows

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26/11/14

You might have thought that as a genre, the vampire movie was pretty much played out. But then along comes a low budget gem like What We Do In The Shadows and you realise that there’s still a few drops of fresh blood left in the old corpse. Set in Wellington, New Zealand and brought to you by the team that gave the world, Flight Of The Conchords, this clever little moc-doc follows the lives of three flatmates who just happen to be vampires.

Vladislav (Jemain Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Viago (Taika Waititi), spend as much time arguing about the washing-up rota as they do harvesting the blood of virgins (a running gag exploits the impossibility of ever finding such a thing in Wellington.)  The vampire gang also keep Nosferatu lookalike Petyr in the cellar (he’s actually quite scary) and have occasional run-ins with a bunch of werewolves, led by alpha male Rhys Derby, who are going to extraordinary lengths to control their anger management issues. ‘We’re werewolves not swear wolves!’ But when new recruit, Nick (Cori Gonzalez Macuer) gets ‘turned’ and starts telling everyone he meets what has happened to him, including his perplexed best friend, Stu (Stuart Rutherford), things are bound to go a bit wrong…

This movie delights from the very first shot, as a hand comes groping out of a coffin to switch off a noisy alarm clock, and it maintains its momentum throughout, so that when you’re not laughing out loud, you’re sniggering and when you’re not sniggering, you’re smiling as you anticipate the next joke. Film buffs will enjoy the occasional movie reference and the three leads give likeable performances. At just 86 minutes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome and given that it’s ultimately a piece of throwaway fluff, it ticks all the boxes for a fun night out. Anyone looking for an antidote to Twilight – the series comes in for a fair bit of stick here – would be well advised to check this one out before it flaps away into the night.

4.1 stars

Philip Caveney

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