What We Do In the Shadows Review

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

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Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Writers: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Stars: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer

Plot: A documentary team films the lives of a group of vampires for a few months. The vampires share a house in Wellington, New Zealand. Turns out vampires have their own domestic problems too.
Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes
IMDB Score: 7.6

Why I watched it: This had a huge about buzz when it was doing the festival circuit, and the genre community seemed to love it.
Random thoughts: First off I’m always worried when a small genre film gets too much buzz cause often it can’t carry the weight of that high expectations.   Also this film is trying what I think is the hardest sub-genre in horror the “Horror Comedy” it is so tricky and it’s messed up a lot.  The simple reason is tone, if it’s too scary then you won’t laugh or the jokes just don’t work, if it’s too funny or you go for too many jokes then it’s not scary.  So even though I was excited to see it I was a little worried, also this is a small budget New Zealand film, the only actor i knew was Jemaine Clement.

What I liked:  First off they nailed the tone, from the start I found the film to be a lot of fun and very sweet.  Now I know that sounds weird but even though this is about Vampires it’s really about being with people you care about and also share things with.  I think the best part of this film is breaking down the Vampire myths and just deal with them as people.  The basic set up of the Documentary team filing them works pretty well, it doesn’t seem like a harmful gimmick to the film and it works nicely.  The stand out for me is Taika Waititi, he is just such a likeable actor and his character even though is a Vampire is very sweet, almost motherly to his flat mates, at the very beginning he talks about how much he likes living with the other Vampires, how this is so much better than living alone.  What I love about this film it’s about the characters, each one of these characters is defined, the humor comes out of their character. So they might be cliches at times but they invest in them, we actually care about them.

Every character gets quirks and they play real so the humor feels organic.  The film isn’t really plot driven it’s more like days in the life of these people/Vampires.  I will say I think the film works as a comedy more than horror, there’s a few moments and yes a few people do die and there is actually a very creepy bit when their chasing a potential victim around there house, but for the most part it’s not scary.  I also liked the fact that they do have werewolves in here and briefly zombies showing that these characters aren’t the only supernatural things in the world or New Zealand.

My favorite bit is when they go out and they want to bar hop but they can’t go in anywhere unless they’re invited so they keep bugging the bounces to invite them in so when they don’t get in they have to go to the local “Vampire Bar In New Zealand” and it’s almost empty and of course they know everyone there.
What I didn’t like: Honestly not much, there is a couple of moments where tone the tone was a little iffy and I do think they could have done more with Peter who was the old school scary looking 6000 year old vampire, they do get some laughs but he’s under used.  Like I said before this isn’t really plot driven so it does kind of float around at times but all in all those are nit picks for me.

Final Thoughts: I really liked this film, I found it funny and sweet, it was nice to see a genre film that wasn’t all doom and gloom.  If you’re a genre fan please check it out it’s worth the watch.

Final Rating: 8/10

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