256) What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) – three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
9/10 – I have been attempting to put together an end of year list, not only relevant to my challenge but relevant to the actual year, and as a result I’m cramming in as many of this years releases as possible in this final month. Having only been released last month, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s mockumentary about life as a vampire in New Zealand sounded entertaining and ridiculous. Having featuring on a few end of year lists already (even though the year isn’t up), it is clear that this was a film worth seeing whether you are a fan of Mockumentary style films, Flight of the Conchords or Vampires in general. If you hate all of that, it probably isn’t for you.
It’s a simple premise, stretched out over 90 minutes which could have ended up feeling like a single joke from a sketch show being dragged out too long. At times it did feel like that, but only for a minute or two, because every 10-15 minutes a new character was introduced leading to another comical situation. Whether it was meeting Rhys Darby (Murray from FOTC) as a Werewolf or when we meet the newest addition to the ‘gang’ and his human best friend, it’s a revolving door of excellent characters that ends up keeping the movie fresh and funny.
It is a well written, clever deadpan comedy that will draw comparisons to Spinal Tap, The Office and obviously Flight of the Conchords. While the comparisons are valid, it is good enough to stand on it’s own. With a low production value it’s attempt at ‘authenticity’ is believable, it all appears so normal. This is why when you see how stupidly funny and silly it is, the contrasting elements will have you laughing, a lot.
I know the poster has emphasised the word ‘hilarious’ being used in a lot of it’s positive reviews, and it led me to be a bit skeptical as it is such an over-used word. But I can now confidently say that I echo those reviews – hilarious is entirely appropriate for this film, and worthy of being on many end of year lists.