Imagine Count Orlok, Dracula, Lestat, and Edward Cullen inhabiting an apartment together while the crew of The Real World records their daily lives. If you can wrap your mind around that concept, what you have is the film What We Do in the Shadows, which was recently released in America on DVD and blu-ray.
Granted, that’s over simplifying things a bit. Though the premise may sound inane to the point of absurdity, What We Do in the Shadows is an unequivocally hilarious mash-up of horror and comedy. The New Zealand produced mockumentary follows Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr in the time leading up to a special event called the Unholy Masquerade. Ranging in age from 183 years old to over 8,000, these vampire roommates spend most nights attempting to get invited into clubs filled with would-be victims. Dated and out of touch, their new convert Nick brings the 21st century into their home, along with a rebellious attitude… and maybe a vampire hunter.
While What We Do in the Shadows has a relatively sparse plot, the loveable cast of ensemble characters effectively drives the film. Their interactions show great chemistry as the actors easily play off one another. Despite being undead vampires you’re immediately on these characters sides due to their ironically endearing human qualities. They struggle with their love lives, suffer loss, and discover new experiences.
In one scene the roommates quarrel over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Yet these normal arguments are punctuated with floating bouts of hissing or occasions where they turn into bats and physically fight one another. The contrast of the bizarre, supernatural subject matter presented with uniform, seemingly real production values adds to the comedy. It’s shot in a similar fashion to the popular television series The Office, with talking head segments between select moments in the story.
While vampires may seem played out and overtired right now, this flick is one that you absolutely have to give a chance. What We Do in the Shadows is the best mockumentary in recent years and one of the funniest films I’ve seen as of late.