The mockumentary is a difficult art form to grasp, largely because of the limited scope those involved have to work with. It’s also over-played with horror films and comedies. So what makes 2014 indie mockumentary flick What We Do in the Shadows any different? First off, it’s a horror film and a comedy, and it was one of the most critically-acclaimed films in 2015. But don’t just let the cinema snobs sell you on it: the flick boasts a whopping 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (the audience score being notoriously lower than the critic’s score when it comes to films, this is an impressive feat).
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) follows the story of a group of four vampires living in a flat in the Wellington suburbs. Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr hide out indoors by day and stalk the streets at night looking for people to feed on – hilarity ensues. The plot hinges on other factors like a Real World kind of drama that never takes itself seriously and never loses sight of what these characters are: socially-awkward, oddly incompetent vampires.
This film comes as the brain child of the New Zealand directorial duo Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. If the name Jemaine Clement strikes you as being familiar, it’s probably because of the amassed popularity of his show “Flight of the Concords” where he plays as one half of the musical duet along with Bret McKenzie. Waititi is known for a few other directorial appearances like his nominated short film Two Cars, One Night (2004) and Boy (2010) which gained international attention. Typical these filmmakers, they play the starring roles in this film as well.
As soon as you hear the brilliantly dry delivery of these actors that show how out-of-place and human these characters are, you recognize that same style that shows like the UK version of The Office and Flight of the Concords managed to pull off. Every bit of it is compelling, hilarious, finger-bitingly awkward, and just a great comedy. Though these vampires have a highly questionable lifestyle, you end up rooting for them, displaying effective character writing and acting working in tandem.
If you’re into the dry wit that a lot of these British comedies come with and you aren’t sick of the over-saturation of vampires in the media (though their influence is sort of waning), then you’ll get a kick out of this movie.