What We Do in the Shadows [Summary Judgment by Haus]
What We Do in the Shadows is a truly terrific comedy that pretty much no one was asking for but everyone should see. It’s short, smart, lovable, weird as blue muffins and periodically hilarious. The premise: A documentary film crew follows a group of vampires sharing a house in New Zealand. They squabble, hiss, bicker over dishes, party, fiddle with technology, chest-bump in the air, and yes, feast on human victims. Their ages range from quite recent to several thousand years old — a comedic setup that keeps on delivering hard-minted little laugh-gems throughout the modest 80-some minute runtime. Make no mistake: This is a silly film, but it’s tight, engrossing comedy and it’s really well done. And this film does more to personalize mythical undead protagonists in a buck-twenty of your time than six groaning hours of Twilight blabber ever did.
Taika Waititi is fantastic as Viago, the soft-spoken peacekeeper of the house; Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords fame) hams it up hard as Vladislav, a medieval-vintage bloodsucker who delivers many of the choicest lines (just wait for his explanation of why vampires prefer virgins); and Jonathan Brugh plays Deacon, the young and sexy one (a spring chicken at just 189 years old). The supporting cast is deeper than you might think and really nicely fleshed out — think of this as a sort of Best in Show for the undead.
This kind of thing can fall flat hard (and worse, the trailer could easily have snatched all the good jokes) but neither of these things happens here. This is gold. Its US release was funded by Kickstarter so it’s playing at smaller, limited-release type places and you may have to search it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Haus Verdict: If you see only one vampire mockumentary this month, see this. No, seriously. This is a great, great little film. Find it, see it, love it. A total win.