What is ‘What we do in the shadows’?

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Straight from the New Zealand documentary board ‘Wwdits’ is another horror documentary showing the lead up to an event known only as the unholy masquerade. The gathering of many of the creatures in the night for one landmark event. We follow a small handful of main characters as they prepare for this, Viago, Vlad, Deacon and Peter. They are vampires.

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We start with the clock ticking over to 6:00 and the start of a new “day” for the house. Viago, as the youngest at only some three hundred and odd years old, is the one whose job it is to rise and get the rest of the house up. You see our four Vampires have opted for a flat share because it is the twenty first century and nobody lives in castles anymore. Well some do but they are mopey old creatures and that will be why the documentary crew isn’t following them and is instead following this action packed, sexy, wild bunch.

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The four are quite different with Viago being a William the Bloody type (before he died his hair and lost his soul), Deacon being a more William the Bloody after he died his hair and lost his soul. Vlad drawing on Vlad the impaler and Peter being your classic Nosferatu. Despite the idea of us leading into the ‘Unholy Masquerade’ the movie actually starts several months prior to that dealing with the troubles of being a vampire in modern New Zealand. This includes putting down newspaper when your going to bite someone, not being able to get into clubs because nobody will invite you in and how to get dressed when you have no reflection.

Their answer being; drawing pictures of each other and a clothes montage.

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The story itself doesn’t really kick off until we meet Nick and Stu who open up the world of the Vampire a little more for us but also open up the world of people to them. Like knowing the bouncers of certain clubs or watching the sun rise on youtube. Not that they are completely new to some modern inventions, clearly having gotten as far as betamax so as to steel a few quick jokes from ‘The Lost Boys‘. The movie knows its vampire lore, often using classic drawn depictions mixed in with photoshopped old timey pictures and even using them for a few quick gags. Such as taking the depiction of a cat with the face of a man to tell us that Vlad could never get the faces quite right. Everything is up for grabs in this movie and even Twilight rears its head later on. Fortunately the movie knows when to pull its punches and doesn’t let rip on the popular franchise with the same old tired gags we have all heard before. Everything is fair game for this movie but nothing is ever cruel and that goes for the vampires themselves.

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They are not vegetarians, they don’t go for rats off the streets and when they drink they kill, at the same time demonstrating the benefit of non cgi blood, but you end up liking them all well enough. From Deacon knitting a scarf for his new friend despite once being a nazi vampire, a bit of a no no after the war. To Vlad who has his own torture room set aside that he uses only when he is in a dark place. They even have the own band, sort of. Okay so they’re not very good but they are probably still New Zealand’s fifth or sixth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk group.

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But that leads me nicely onto ‘The Flight of the Conchords’ a comedy folk duo that are plastered over the front of my copy of the movie. This is because half of that duo wrote the movie, directed it and starred in it as Vlad ‘the poker’. Heck even their ex-manager Murray is present as the alpha male of the local werewolf pack who tries to stop them getting out of control by reminding them to wear tracksuit bottoms when they are changing as they have more give and that they are Werewolves not swearwolves, he’s basically playing the same character in fact and that is no bad thing for the world can always do with more of the level headed leadership of band managed Murray. Now I bring this up because the movie has the same wit and charm as the show and the band and works around the same levelf bumbling awkward humour without ever going ‘The office’ style overboard and just making you uncomfortable.

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The effects are interesting as I am sure they are all professionally done, and decent enough, always adding to the story or serving as the basis for a decent joke but somehow always managing to look bad. There is a short inception style fight scene that manages to look like it is done on pantomime wires. That might sound like a criticism but it isn’t as it fits the feel of the movie quite well and adds to the cheesy appeal.

To sum up as only I can, it’s ‘Hilarious’.

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Update: 17-8-2015

Apparently they are eager to get going on a sequel following the wolf pack from the first movie and possibly also a TV spin-off following the two cops working for an x-files kind of situation. Both are in the early stages as of yet so don’t go holding your breath, unless you know your an undead creature of the night and therefore don’t breath anyway.

http://io9.com/please-let-this-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-sequel-happen-1724600078

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