I’ve gotta say, while it’s only February, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for horror-themed mockumentaries. Adam Green’s Digging Up the Marrow (review) was a fun romp, and What We Do in the Shadows is the funniest horror comedy I’ve seen in quite some time.
To be clear, it’s primarily a comedy, providing plenty of laughter throughout its duration. It follows a group of vampire roommates as they deal with each other and trying to fit into the New Zealand night life.
The film was written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (both of Flight of the Conchords and Eagle vs Shark fame). Both also star along with Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, and Jackie van Beek. The chemistry among all the actors couldn’t be better.
We get to know the four main vamps played by Clement, Waititi, Brugh, and Fransham through their stories about one another and a wonderful early montage showing off pictures of them throughout history. They’re different ages, ranging from hundreds to thousands of years old. The oldest, Petyr (Fransham) resembles Salem’s Lot’s Kurt Barlow, while the rest are more human-looking.
These guys do pretty much everything together. They live together, they have an amazing little band, they go out and hassle the werewolves (including Flight of the Conchords‘ Rhys Darby) together, and of course they eat together. This results in a fifth vampire that doesn’t always fit in with them as well as his human best friend does.
Also along for the ride is Jackie (van Beek), who plays the familiar to Deacon (Brugh), and runs all of his errands. She is waiting to be turned into a vampire.
The majority of the movie is spent leading up to the “Unholy Masquerade,” which is essentially a monster party, where vampires party with zombies.
Hilarity ensues throughout the movie, and the many laughs are what make What We Do in the Shadows as great as it is. It’s a comedy for sure, but it’s a comedy for horror fans more than anything. There are plenty of references to other genre films, and some great types of sequences that we really don’t get much in true horror films (such as vampires fighting one another in bat form).
To me, this is an instant classic. See it when you get the chance.