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He Said, She Said Review Site

What We Do in the Shadows

What She said:

She

In the realm of “movies I’ve never heard of that I absolutely loved,” What We Do in the Shadows has staked its claim. This 2014 mockumentary comes to us from New Zealand, and chronicles the lives of a group of vampires who are struggling to fit in within today’s society. And boy is it funny, smartly written, and downright enjoyable.

We meet Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr, vampires of various ages, who are living together in a home in New Zealand. Deacon is the youngest of the vampires, at 183 years old, and has a human servant named Jackie, who takes care of the nitty gritty for the group in exchange for the promise of one day being turned into one of them. It’s a totally empty promise, and Jackie seems to be catching on to this. Viago seems like more of the innocent one. He’s 379 years old, is likable, and pines for a lost love who is now an elderly woman, despite the fact that Viago has himself not aged physically. Vladislav is 862 years old and takes his sense of style very seriously. He imagines himself to be the playboy of the group, despite the fact that none of them really fit in. And finally, we’ve got Petyr who is roughly 8,000 years old and looking terrifyingly like Nosferatu. Even the other vampires are afraid of Petyr and he pretty much lives in a crypt in the basement.

What We Do in the Shadows

Each night, the fellas, sans Petyr, go out trolling the town for victims. They hit up bars and nightclubs to try to find some fresh meat. They’re not the smoothest of operators, and so they very much rely on the help of Jackie to secure meals. Among their intended kills is a group of young adults that includes Nick. Viago, Vladislav, and Deacon bring them back to their home where they attack, but Nick nearly gets away. It’s Petyr who eventually corners and kills him. But days later Nick pops back up as a vampire. Apparently Petyr decided to make him one of the group. Nick is youthful and extremely unwise. He reveals his identity to anyone who will listen, including vampire hunters, and that gets the group in trouble. But Nick also has a pretty cool friend named Stu who becomes the lone human in their hangout group. The guys don’t kill Stu in exchange for his friendship and expertise with technology. Before too long, the fellas are internet savvy and actually getting into decent clubs.

Of course, things are not always easy for the vampires. There is a rival group of werewolves whom they absolutely loathe, and their interactions with them are hilarious. The film is a peek into the day-to-day lives of vampires living in the 21st century, complete with all the wonderfully entertaining roommate fighting that you can expect would take place.

What We Do in the Shadows

I am so glad that we found this movie. It’s light and extremely funny. It’s very well written and plays well on the lore of vampires. The flying, hissing, transmorphism, hypnotism—all of these elements are touched upon in this film, and in a funny, funny ways. As mentioned, this is a mockumentary, and so it’s basically a camera following around this hodge podge of vampires. They often speak directly to the viewer, attempting to explain how they lead their everyday lives within today’s society.

Everything here is very straightforward. There isn’t huge production value and nothing is too overblown. The film is short—less than an hour and a half—but it leaves its impression. The comedy is spot on throughout and there is never a dull moment. From physical humor to sharp witty jokes, this movie does a really great job with the funny-factor.

I’m not familiar with the actors here, but I’ve heard they were involved with the HBO series Flight of the Conchords. If they continue to create film and TV like What We Do in the Shadows then they really are going to take off. Kudos to all involved with this film. It was a lot of fun.

Thumbs up.

What We Do in the Shadows

What He said:

He

Being a vampire is not everything it is cracked up to be. Sure, they are immortal, can levitate, hypnotize people, and do some other pretty cool things, but that’s only good stuff. There’s the reliance on humans – because you don’t go outside during the day – the constant search for food, and what only can be referred to as a culture clash and that is what this movie focuses on.

What We Do in the Shadows

Viago, Glad, Deacon, and Petyr all share a house in New Zealand. The youngest one of them (Deacon) is almost 200, so these guys aren’t exactly up-to-date on pop culture, trends, and modern traditions. These guys still dress like they did when they were still human. Their inability to blend is a bit part of the movie.
Before I go too much further, let me introduce you to our main characters.

Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) is the youngest. One of the other vampires describes him as something of a teenager. He’s got a bit of a temper and is irrational at times. He also has a familiar named Jackie (Jackie Van Beek). If you aren’t up-to-date on your vampire lore, a familiar is a human who serves as something of an assistant for vampires with the understanding that they will one day be rewarded with the eternal life.

Viago is the second youngest and our main character. He is a little under 400 years old. He keeps track of things around the house, like chores and other responsibilities. He (Taika Waititi) longs for a former lover whom he became separated from when his coffin was shipped to the wrong part of the world. It was back before planes, so it took a while, and by the time he realized he was lost, it was years later. He is easily the most likeable of the bunch.

Vlad (Jemaine Clement) is the second oldest.  He is a walking cliché. Everything you’ve ever heard about Count Dracula applies to this guy. He fancies himself a ladies man, likes to hypnotize people, and his whole look is based off of the legend of Dracula.

Petyr (Ben Fransham) is the oldest – coming in at 8,000 years old. Petyr lives in the basement and is the most “feral” of the bunch. He looks like Count Orlok in Nosferatu. Like I said, he lives in the basement. He rarely comes up to join the rest of the gang. He treats the basement similar to how an animal treats its den.  There’s dried up blood and piles of bones all over the place.

One of the things Jackie helps out with is getting the guys food. They go out to clubs to try and meet women in an attempt to lure them back to their place, but like I said earlier, these guys are from another century. They have no idea how to get a modern woman’s attention. So, Jackie brings people to their place.

What We Do in the Shadows

One of these people is a young guy named Nick. Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) ends up getting turned into a vampire and joins the guys in the house. They aren’t crazy about him though. Despite showing them all the ins and outs of modern life, he is a danger to their way of living. When he gets drunk, he likes to try and impress people by bragging about being a vampire. This puts the group at danger. The only redeeming quality they see in him is his friend Stu. The guys all love Stu (Stu Rutherford).

I’ve never heard of this movie. The She has never heard of this movie. I’m betting you haven’t either. Do not let that sway you from seeing it though, because I am very happy we stumbled upon it. This movie is absolutely hilarious. I think I burst into laughter seconds into it and continued to do so throughout it.

This movie is funny for a lot of reasons. For starters, the whole fish out of water thing is great. That kind of humor can work in a variety of backdrops, however the fact that somebody thought to do it with vampires is a stroke of genius. These guys still look and act like it’s hundreds of years ago and are completely befuddled by modern society. It’s very funny to watch.

They also have fun with the vampire lore. Simple things like vacuuming become much funnier, because the people (vampires in this case) doing it are levitating while doing it. Another funny example is whenever the roommates get into an argument, they inevitably hiss at one another, start levitating, or transform into something. The movie has a lot of fun with the mythology of vampires. One more really good example of that is whenever they run into a rival gang – a gang that also happens to be werewolves. You have to really pay attention to what is being said between the two groups, because the jokes are rapid fire. I rewound the movie a few times to catch them all. That actually sums up the movie as a whole. It is very funny. I laughed loud and I laughed often.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on May 31, 2015.

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