What do you think when we say New Zealand? Maoris? Lamb? Chups? Hobbits? Kiwi comedy, What We Do in The Shadows would like to draw your attention to its undead quota. Namely Vampires. In this faux-documentary written by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, four bloodsuckers form a house share in Wellington. Rising everyday at 6pm, they’re bogged down in the same politics all houses shares have; fighting about housework, going on a lads night out and tidying away spinal columns left on the floor. We’ve all been there. When a freshly turned vampire moves in with his human friend, they are forced to adapt to a new way of life.
The joy of What We Do in The Shadows is watching how the macabre is turned down to mundane. Yes, you can live forever, but how do you get into the hottest nightclub in Wellington when vampire lore states explicitly that you have to be invited into any building? And for that matter, how do you dress if you can’t see yourself in the mirror? Clement and Waititi’s film develops some novel twists on the stereotypes we’ve come to expect from Nosferatu. Want to know why Dracula always drank virgin blood? Well, Vlad has a rather astute analogy involving sandwiches, if you care to hear. And it doesn’t just stop with digs at the supernatural, the film is equally at home exposing the tropes of the documentary genre.
From beginning to end, the laughs come thick and fast and a cameo from Rhys Darby will readdress any support you had for Team Jacob during the Twilight’s heyday. Occasionally, to the film’s credit, the merriment takes a backseat to allow the film to pump some pathos through its veins. Either through Viago, the lovestruck, foppish member of the house (played brilliantly by Waititi) pining for love, or party-vamp Deacon lamenting the loss of friends to swans.
It’s all so deliciously funny and if What We Do in The Shadows doesn’t raise at least a titter from you, then you might want to check you’re not one of the undead yourself.