Film Review: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)


If it`s true that laughing extends your life expectancy and relieves stress, then What We Do In The Shadows is the perfect medicine for you, because it has absolutely everything to make you laugh throughout the film, and increases your chance of smiling all day.

Being a vampire does not mean you must disregard simple, daily, routines, such as, cleaning up after yourself, not creating a mess, and keeping the house clean and quiet. And, just in case if you invite a stranger to your house to suck his blood, don`t forget to cover the floor with newspapers so that his blood won’t be all over the room. Also, if the potential victim is a charming lady, make sure that the date she has with you will be unforgettable before she dies. And even with all this, washing the dishes is the most important thing a vampire must do, even though he hates it very much.

Viago (Taika Waititi), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Petyr (Ben Fransham) live in a suburban area of New Zealand. They try to have an uneventful life, but it`s easier said than done for one simple reason; they are a vampires, and that means there is no way they can avoid problems. Luckily, there is a documentarist who comes to their house to make a film about them- their daily life, what they eat, what they drink (which is not that hard to guess), and who they date… Everything turns upside down for them and shakes up their lives when their victim, Nick, (Cori Gonzales-Macuer) becomes a vampire…

The opening scene of What We Do in the Shadows is absurdly hilarious, when Viago introduces to us an unseen (to us) camera-man/documentarist who is about to film the extraordinary life of living vampires. The facial expression of Viago is stunningly humorous; how he carefully goes around and cleans the mess up created by his flatmates, or how he explains to them the kitchen is where he gathers them for a meeting, is ridiculously funny. And, to see how Vladislav objects to washing the dishes is hilarious.

The funny scenes and dialogue does not end there, but rather continues throughout the film, and you, as the audience, will not have a reprieve from the hilarity. You will find yourself laughing at every scene, which is absolutely rare nowadays. By not going over the jokes to make them look nasty is what makes What We Do in the Shadows one of the funniest films in decades. The cast of the film is fully dedicated and transforms themselves into their characters so well that you won’t stop enjoying them. Maybe it`s because the film is written and directed by its two leading actors, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.

The directors’ sense of humor is absolutely unique, raw and refreshing, and makes me look forward to their new projects. Even though What We Do in the Shadows does not carry a special message to its viewers, except to make them laugh the entire time, it is still a simple, cleverly written, and unrelentingly funny film. And without a doubt, I can agree with the vampire’s statement: “Doing the dishes is not fun. But it`s better to do it, if we don`t want it to look like the one they had.”

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