As part of this website getting used, I've decided to just do some reviews of stuff. This first one is something I watched recently, What We Do in the Shadows from 2014.
Shadows is directed by and starring Taika Waititi, who is one talented fellow — director, actor, comedian, screenwriter; he recently directed and acted [mo-cap is acting right?] in Thor: Ragnarok which, not so incidentally, is another excellent movie.
Also starring Jermaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords fame, Shadows is a horror comedy mockumentary that takes all the tropes of traditional vampire myth and shines some reality on them. This is no Interview with the Vampire or Underworld, where everything is glamourised and dramatic. What We Do in the Shadows is far more dirty and unwashed, taking away the sparkly or brooding traditions and leaving us with real people. Real people who just happen to be vampires.
Waititi's Viago is a four hundred and some year old vampire, who followed his sweetheart to "Niu Zelind", albeit in a coffin and very much slower. Living in a sharehouse with three other vampires — Vladislav [Clement], Deacon and Petyr, who are all of varying age and sociability — this movie is uni life at its finest. The house that looks like it could collapse if someone sneezed in the wrong direction ["There's no smoke alarms"]; the unwashed dishes just seem to pile up because it’s someone else’s turn ["Vampires don't do dishes!"]; the neighbours calling the police making noise complaints ["Hello police"]; going out every night in the dire hope of picking up ["Hello ladies"]; puking after eating the wrong thing ["Chups are my favourite food"]; and fighting with your mates when nothing goes to plan because obviously it's their fault, right? ["BAT FIGHT!"]
If it wasn't for the fact these characters are vampires and living in a very different world to us, you'd think little of it. In fact, you could compare it to Trainspotting from 1996: this is just the day to day life of a bunch of hopeless, no good layabouts. Hopeless, no good layabouts who just happen to be vampires. This of course means that mirrors are pointless, transforming into bats and flying away is a thing that happens, they hypnotise strangers and have familiars, and sunlight and crucifixes seem to be fatal far quicker than most would believe. There isn’t any holy water though.
All four of the housemates are somewhat socially inept. Viago is a fop, a dandy and completely useless at real life. Vladislav seems to think he is god's [the devil's?] gift to society and far cooler than he actually is. Deacon is that housemate who is angry about everything, and completely incapable of anything because of it. Petyr is the foreign student who can barely speak the language if at all and has some really weird habits you'd rather not know about, and plenty you wish you had never learned about.
The meat of the movie is in how the characters deal with real life in suburban Wellington, New Zealand. In between bat fights, hip-and-shouldering werewolves, and a secret society party filled with bad memories, What We Do in the Shadows is a very satisfying romp through the nightly life of a bunch of losers. Losers who just happen to be vampires.
If you like anything about vampires, even something as insipid as Twilight, you should definitely watch Shadows. You can find it on Netflix Australia right now.