When I discovered What We Do in the Shadows, I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. Twilight has set some standards for the genre and I believed that no one would dare to tackle these creatures in a new and refreshing way. Few have tried in the past years. Byzantium and Only Lovers Left Alive are examples of trying to bring the vampires back to their former glory, although both of them removed important elements from the meaning of being a vampire.
What We Do in the Shadows brought everything back in a hilarious and moderately gory way. Filmed as a documentary in modern days, with the camera crew wearing crosses and garlic, the movie follows the story of four flat mates, who are trying to overcome the obstacles of being an immortal vampire who must feast on human blood, in their wait for the next masquerade ball. They are introduced to us one by one, starting with Viago (Taika Waititi), a 317 year old vampire, who talks a lot and tries to make his roommates to follow the house rules. Then we have Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), whose age of only 183, makes him the youngster of their house. And like all little brothers, he’s spoiled and acting out against Viago’s rules. Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), aged 862, is very fond of torture and sex. And in their basement, lives Petyr, a 8000 year old vampire, who lost touch with humanity, both physical and emotional.
Each night they prowl the streets of Wellington, New Zeeland, searching for their next victim, because during the day, they have to keep away from sunlight, which is fatal to their kind. Because of this, they haven’t adapted to 21st century. Jackie, Deacon’s human servant, is the one who tricks people into coming into their home, when the vampires can’t find food on their own. She’s frustrated that Deacon doesn’t turn her into one of them, because she’s aging and no one wants to be immortal in an old body. She also says that is not professional to bring them people that wronged her and yet she brings her ex-boyfriend, Nick, who, after finding out what’s going to happen to him, tries to escape and gets turned into a vampire by Petyr. He ends up introducing to the group, his human friend, Stu, who immediately becomes the group’s favorite. Stu is the one who teaches them how to use a computer.
I’ll not spoil the movie for the ones who haven’t seen it but I have to say that I absolutely loved it. Directed and written by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows, filled with hilarious one-liners, some bloody scenes and all the right mythology, is a warmhearted reminiscence of what vampire movies used to be.
I’m certain I’ll come back to it from time to time, because, even though it’s a comedy, it’s the best vampire movie ever since Låt den rätte komma in.