Like a million other found footage horrors the hilarious and highly original comedy horror What We Do in the Shadows opens with a title card explaining that in 2013 a documentary crew where allowed access to a highly secretive society who granted them protection to document their lives.
That group is a quartet of vampires who share a flat in the Wellington suburbs of New Zealand and the faux documentary film is the funniest horror movies of recent years guaranteed to have you laughing from barmy beginning to epic end like Vlad the Impaler at a steak house.
Based on a 2006 short of the same name What We Do in the Shadows is written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement who take the roles of the shy and uptight Viago and the sex crazed pervert Vladislav.
Accompanied by bad boy Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and ancient Count Orlok lookalike Petyr (Ben Fransham) the film follows the far from fearsome foursome through the nightly home life which includes flat meetings on the cleaning rota, their inability to get into night clubs unless they are invited in and their chaotic confrontations with local werewolf gangs headed up by familiar New Zealand comedian Rhys Darby.
Although many vampire comedies have been made before from the original Buffy to Dracula Dead and Loving it to Vamps to Suck all with varying degrees of success few have sent up every element of the genre so well as What We Do in the Shadows.
It’s not all laughs however and there are moments of great sadness and touching scenes as well as one surprisingly scary and visceral haunted house style chase of unfortunate human Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) which results in him being turned leading to the fanged toothed four getting an introduction to the modern world of technology which had all but passed them by.
Expertly shot and scripted taking the humor they perfected in Flight of the Conchords and adding in a horror element Clement and longtime collaborator Waititi craft a series of excellent set pieces within a great story evoking Man Bites Dog, Troll Hunter and The Office as well as parodying a whole heap of horror movies both verbally with great gags and visually using excellent special effects.
Milking every comedic moment from what would be the real mundanity of vampire life it also takes the legendary bat winged lore of the genre and sends it up with great takes on the concept of human familiars among other things while brilliantly debunking the sexiness of vampires with Deacon and Vladislav believing themselves to be Lothario’s but coming across simply as lame.
What We Do in the Shadows is one of the best horror comedies to come out since Shaun of the Dead blending a perfect mix of crazy characters, insane set ups, guffaw producing gore, spot on spoofs and bloodletting belly laughs.