The shadows gather around us once again. Take our hands and wander with us into the darkness where the monsters gather. We’re bringing you 31 horror reviews in October. Whatever you do, don’t let go of our hands lest you find out what truly goes bump in the night.
If you think life is difficult in the 21st century, imagine being a vampire in these modern times. You still have your timeless challenges such as the eternal conflict against the werewolves and those damn vampire hunters but also problems that the legendary undead of the past never had to deal with. Your flatmates are killing their victims on your nice couch without even laying down some newspaper to keep the blood from staining your furniture. One flatmate refuses to wash the bloody dishes which have been piling up for years and humans are catching on to your methods. There are some positive things though. You can use the internet to watch videos of the sunrise or to meet potential virginal victims.
This sums up the brilliance of What We Do In The Shadows. The movie is set up as a faux documentary (we are informed that the camera crew has been given crucifixes and garlic for their own protection). This premise makes it easier to give the film a pass for its relatively low budget and allows characters to break the fourth wall by directly speaking to the audience.
What We Do In The Shadows opens with Viago, a fairly experienced vampire not quite 400 years old, attempting to rise from his coffin in an homage to Nosferatu. After checking to make sure the sun has set, he wakes up his flatmates thereby introducing us to Vladislav who is approaching 900 years old, the young and rebellious Deacon who has yet to reach 200 years old and Petyr, an ancient vampire that has taken on a Nosferatu-ish appearance. This opening scene is hilarious and will hook longtime vampire fans with all of the loving references to classic genre movies.
Though living in modern times, these vampires are in somewhat over their heads during these modern times. That changes with the introduction of a human named Nick. The vampires turn Nick in a sequence filled with shenanigans inspired by The Lost Boys. Welcoming Nick to the unlife opens new possibilities for the vampires such as using the internet and finally getting into the best nightclubs. However, Nick also brings problems to the group. He boasts about his vampire status to humans and his carelessness directly leads to a tragic event.
On top of the trouble that Nick creates, the vampires attend the biggest night of the year for monsters -the Unholy Masquerade and later run into a group of cocky lyncanthropes. Why must everlasting life be so annoying?
Aside from the respectful yet hilarious homages to vampire films, the thing that makes What We Do In The Shadows such a fun film to watch is the chemistry between the lead actors. They’re having a blast and their enthusiasm is infectious. Apparently over 150 pages of script were written for the film but the actors didn’t see any of it. Much of what they do is improvisation and amazingly, it works very well.
I wholeheartedly recommend What We Do In The Shadows the next time you need a vampire flick.
Where to watch: Currently on Amazon Prime. Can be purchased from Google Play, Vudu and Microsoft’s movie store. The DVD and Blu-ray are inexpensive on Amazon.