BLU-RAY REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: TAIKA WAITITI, JEMAINE CLEMENT / SCREENPLAY: TAIKA WAITITI, JEMAINE CLEMENT / STARRING: TAIKA WAITITI, JEMAINE CLEMENT, JONATHAN BRUGH, BEN FRANSHAM, CORI GONZALEZ-MACUER / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 13TH
What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary of sorts that looks at modern-day struggles of a group of vampires. Viago (Waititi), Vladislav (Clement), Deacon (Brugh) and Petyr (Fransham) have to deal with the day-to-day issues of being a bloodsucker, such as trying to get in to nightclubs, getting dressed without the assistance of a reflection, keeping on top of household chores, tensions with werewolves, and pulling the odd Lost Boys trick on potential victims. Being a vampire isn’t merely all pouting and Twilight, you know.
Just as you’re getting to grips with the foursome (albeit if Petyr’s moments are largely spent entombed in the basement), Nick (Gonzalez-Macuer), a would-be meal, is turned into a vampire himself and joins the group’s dynamic, even bringing human friend Stu (Stuart Rutherford) into the fold. The film stays with our core collection of characters as they go through the mundane living patterns of a vampire, although what we see is actually far from mundane.
This is a film that has a knowing, innocent charm to it, brimming with the subtle moments of brilliance and humour that are a staple of Taika Waititi’s films. Waititi is best known for helming the stunning duo of Eagle vs. Shark and Boy, and he splits writing and directing duties with Flight of the Conchords' equally brilliant Jemaine Clement, who also worked with Waititi on the aforementioned Eagle vs. Shark. What the two deliver here is again something of real beauty with a quirky edge that will have you belly laughing with its deft approach to the humour drizzled throughout its running time.
Despite being a vastly funny film, What We Do in the Shadows also has a wonderfully classic gothic feel to our initial group of vampires, with each ticking off a particular vampiric stereotype that we’ve seen a million times before although obviously not quite as comically drawn as they are here. Added to this, there are one or two moments of gore in there for those with a thirst for the red stuff, and we even get to see Viago struggling with the practicality of biting a victim in the household. Safe to say, it’s best to put newspaper down and it also pays to make sure you hit the right artery with the fateful bite.
What We Do in the Shadows is a film that has many different strokes in its approach and humour, and the performances from the central cast are perfectly played, not to mention a couple of cameos for long-time Waititi/Clement aficionados to keep their eyes peeled for. Make no mistake about it, this is a film that will appeal to near-enough everybody, regardless of whether they’re familiar with Waititi or Clement’s previous work or not. Simply put, a hugely enjoyable mockumentary that will get a smile out of the most coldest of hearts.
Special Features: Behind the Shadows feature / Original short film / Promo videos / Video extras / Deleted scenes
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