Written, Directed by and starring “Flight Of The Conchords”’ Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, “What We Do In The Shadows” plays out as a documentary film about a dangerous but inept group of vampires living together in suburban New Zealand. Tongue very firmly planted in cheek, the mockumentary shows these ruthless predatory monsters struggling to cope with the banality of every day life; from the politics of flat sharing to being baffled by modern technology they try to reconcile their proud and savage history with the humdrum minutiae of modern day life.
The film sticks resolutely to its documentary style, so there’s little in the way of a plot beyond the introduction of a new vampire to the group and the disruption he brings. Drawing inspiration from the long history of cinematic vampires, there’s something for every fang fan to sink their teeth into. From the ghoulish Nosferatu-like Petyr and the Draculesque Vladislav to the Lestat stylings of our host and narrator Viago, there’s a lot of love and attention to detail lavished on the characters as we see these princes of darkness navigate the everyday problems of unwashed dishes and household chore rotas. This is a comedy with bite, though and it’s not afraid to spill, or indeed spray, its fair share of the red stuff. Nocturnal trips out of the house bring the revelation that New Zealand plays host to a rich and diverse subculture of the undead, the vampires sharing the darkness with zombies, witches and a pack of werewolves led by Conchords alumnus Rhys Darby.
Packed with wonderful, witty observations, moments of genuine pathos – such as recently vamped Nick lamenting his inability to eat chips anymore and a killer gag about dark bidding, “What We Do In The Shadows” is a brilliantly funny, sharply satirical fourth-wall busting swipe at reality TV and things that go bump in the night.