What We Do In The Shadows is a 2014 comedy written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. The ‘mockumentary’ follows the lives of four vampires: Viago (Waiyiti), Vladislav (Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) who share a home in Wellington.
Like a blood sucking This Is Spinal Tap, What We Do In The Shadows takes the well known vampire tropes and mines them for everything they’re worth. Waiyiti and Clement have clearly invested time in taking notes from a multitude of Vampire films from as far back as Nosferatu to the more recent likes of Twilight. They may poke fun at the genre but they treat it with affection, highlighting the obvious and not so obvious genre tropes.
Waiyiti and Clement’s film is clever and witty without ever being laugh-out-loud funny. That’s meant in the best possible way. This is played straight enough to make it feel like a tangible film. The ridiculousness comes from the rules that have been set by the many pieces of genre source source material. The practicalities of being a vampire in the modern world are held under the microscope and we get to see how the quartet of blood suckers get on when they take-on a new housemate, prepare for an annual monster gathering and have a turf-war with a group of werewolves.
A good comedy and a great homage to the genre that it makes fun of, What We Do In The Shadows is the perfect fodder for comedy and horror fans alike. You can say a lot about this New Zealand comedy – but it definitely doesn’t suck.