Movie ReviewsMovies

What We Do in the Shadows

Oh, the plight of being a hundreds-years-old vampire in New Zealand! One never even thought to consider the present-day misfortunes of being a Kiwipire until this mockumentary about Viago (Taika Waititi), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement, one half of Flight of the Conchords), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Count-Orlock-looking Petyr (Ben Fransham). Think “The Office” meets Dracula. This mostly trio—Petyr doesn’t exactly pass well in public—faces off against werewolves led by “Flight of the Conchords”’s Murray himself (Rhys Darby), deal with a newborn vampire (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) and come fang-to-fang with Vlad’s arch-nemesis, The Beast.

This tremendously funny parody takes the Bram Stoker legend and tweaks it for brilliant laughs. Unlike the poor parody formula milked by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Clement and Waititi concoct their own, original scenarios and build jokes around the iconic monster’s genre tropes. A familiarity with older vampire lore, most notably Stoker’s Dracula and/or its multitude of adaptations, is fairly necessary to get the gags in What We Do in the Shadows. However, from the opening flat meeting held due to Deacon’s five-year failure to complete his task on the chore wheel through the climatic monster masquerade, this horror comedy never fails to sparkle, even as its vampires thankfully do not.

These guys are old-school; they do not show up in mirrors, hate crucifixes, turn into bats, fly and feast on humans, except for new vamp Nick’s “pre-deceased” pal, Stu (Stuart Rutherford); as Viago would say, he is very “cool.” What We Do in the Shadows is by far the funniest film of 2015. In my most hypnotically vampiric tone, I command you to see it.