Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

What We Do In The Shadows – 2014

What-We-Do-in-the-ShadowsVampires are so overdone. When it was announced that there wouldn’t be not just another vampire film, but a satirical one to hit our screens, it didn’t spark much excitement. Upon reading the rave reviews and noticing the connection to the successful and popular “Flight of the Conchords”, it’s fair to say things took a turn for the better.
As a result, “What We Do In The Shadows” became one of the funniest films of the year and demonstrated how to make clever, original mockumentary about a subject that has inundated our screens all too much as of late. 

Documenting the lives of three roommate vampires, the mockumentary is a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how vampires live in a modern New Zealand society and the struggles that they face because of who they are. What comes along with these characters are some excellently thought out antics and laughs that pack a punch simply on their originality alone.
It may sound obvious, but casting is one of the film’s greatest credits; each lead is unique in their own way, development of character is evenly spread and the chemistry between each household member is hysterical to watch, with numerous laugh out loud moments ensuing. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.35.19 pm

The inclusion of other horror cliche characters such as zombies, vampire hunters and werewolves are addressed and explored almost perfectly. There is satirical comedy that is idiotic, boring and frustrating; this belongs in a “Scary Movie” film, but then there’s the clever, charming and delightful gags that come from a fantastic screenplay like “What We Do In The Shadows”.
There are countless examples of activities and incidences we haven’t seen before in a satirical comedy, and it is surprisingly refreshing to see.
The gang of werewolves are fantastic and provide consistent laughs when on screen – the back and forth arguing and banter between them and the vampires is both childish and marvellous; a wonderful combination, especially in a comedy. 

Mockumentaries could be seen as the easy way out when making a comedy. Basically, the content is already there, all the director and writers need to do is satirise it by doing what most people would think is the polar opposite.

What-we-do-in-the-Shadows-1-compressed1What made “Spinal Tap” the first major mockumentary that is both a pioneering and definitive example of the genre was the cleverness of everything involved. I see many links between “Spinal Tap” and “What We Do In The Shadows” when it comes to humour, delivery and overall atmosphere. Too often, they get it wrong, not this time!

After “Flight of the Conchords” called it a day, it seemed as though we wouldn’t see the best of Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie again. McKenzie has since made a name for himself elsewhere (as he’s not in the film), and to an extent, so has Clement; but to see throwbacks and elements of the hit series once again in something completely unique and unrelated was fantastic!
The writing, the performances and the end result make “What We Do In The Shadows” one of the year’s best comedies and a mockumentary for the ages! 



2 comments on “What We Do In The Shadows – 2014

  1. Noémie
    December 2, 2014

    Pretty good movie! It really reminded me of “Man Bites Dog” (C’est arrivé près de chez vous) which is one of my favourite movies.
    I gave 4 too but I think it was worth something like 3.75 :p Very funny and enjoyable but I they could have gone further with the “black humour” (not sure if that’s how you say in English).

    • wmsteele
      December 3, 2014

      Yeah ive heard that comparison pop up a bit. I havent seen it but I should.

      Yeah, I only rate with .5’s so it makes distinguishing films a little harder. And yes, black humour or dark/black comedy is what we would say too ☺️

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