Wellington Paranormal: Season One (2018) Review

When Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi made the short film What We Do in the Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires in 2005 they probably had no idea what a huge phenomenon not only their show but they themselves would come to be.

Flash forward to 2021 and Clement is a house hold name with a role in the next 4 Avatar movies having gained a cult following with the fantastic Flight of the Conchords. Meanwhile Waititi is a critical acclaimed Hollywood director with hits on his hands from Jojo Rabbit to Thor: Ragnarok and more Marvel movies on the way.

As many of you may know What We Do in the Shadows transformed from its humble home grown origins into not only the hilarious horror mockumentary movie in 2014 staring both Clement’s and Waititi but also an American TV series which was equally as excellent.

What you may not be aware of is the vampire comedy also spawned another spin off series called Wellington Paranormal.

Based around the bumbling New Zealand officers Minogue and O’Leary (played by Mark Minogue and Karen O’Leary) who had a minor role in the What we do in the Shadows film, the series is a police procedural faux documentary following the cops as the head up the paranormal unit of the Wellington police force under the over eager command of Sergeant Ruawai Maaka (Maaka Pohatu).

A true believer in the paranormal Sergeant Maaka recruits the hapless cops after they have a disturbing and disgusting encounter with a demonic presence who has posed as teenage girl and is calling itself Bazu’aal of the Unholy Realm.

Leading the pair to his hidden office behind a filing cabinet he shows them the vast collection of uncanny cases dating back centuries that have all taken place in the unlikely location of Wellington. From here on the intrepid and inept threesome tackle a slew of supernatural crimes including alien invasions, home haunting’s and more.

The main cast are excellent proving that Waititi and Clement where right to create a whole new series from officers Minogue and O’Leary’s brief cameo. The actors dry and mundane musings on the surreal and spooky goings on they frequently face is the source of constantly hilarity and the heart of the show.

The links to What we do in the Shadows also extend beyond the two leads with appearances from Dion one of the werewolf pack in the movie who has unwittingly infected his enraged ex-girlfriend Sheena (Ana Scotney) and best of all Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) the fledgling vampire who pops up in a brilliant episode revolving around a blood bank robbery where he baffles the officers by constantly hypnotizing them and escaping from more and more incriminating situations.

Reminiscent in its tone and tongue in cheek sensibilities as series like The Office, Aussie cop comedy No Activity and most recently Truth Seekers, Wellington Paranormal is packed with great one liner’s, silly set pieces, laughably awkward moments and most importantly lots of horror.

With a ton of references especially in the excellent zombie episode that ends the series the show pays particular homage to X-Files not only in its theme (composed by Clements himeslf) but one great scene where Minogue mention the similarities between the duo and Mulder and Scully much to his partners annoyance.

With some surprisingly decent effects the show takes its scares seriously something that always elevates a horror comedy and some episodes expertly amp up the tension and terror before releasing it with a perfectly timed gag causing far larger laughs.

Rising up like the undead from its origins Wellington Paranormal is a sensational horror comedy that is a must watch not just for fans of What we do in the Shadows seeing as it proves to be so much more than a spin off. The only negative is that there are only 6 episodes in the first series however the great news is more seasons are coming out soon.

Dazzler Media presents Wellington Paranormal: Season One on Blu-ray, DVD & Download-to-Own now and order on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/Wellington-Paranormal-Season-1-Blu-ray/dp/B094KD892V

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ★ ☆ 

Trailer:

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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