Hooting at What We Do In The Shadows

Viago shows Jackie this week's cleaning.
Viago shows Jackie this week’s cleaning.

A vampire film is not my usual tipple, but I do love a spoof. Specially when it’s a mockumentary dripping with blood; when the jokes just keep on coming; when the acting is so vérité that the idea of Wellington’s nightlife and suburbia being inhabited by vampires, werewolves, witches and zombies seems totally plausible. The superb New Zealand film What We Do In The Shadows is out on release now, and its fans came through triumphantly to fund a Kickstarter campaign for its release in the USA. It’s the funniest film I’ve seen since Guardians of the Galaxy. Actually, no: its funnier, because the jokes rely on world culture and history rather than Hollywood’s very limited idea of what is funny.

it's an all-boy house
it’s an all-boy house

Favourite scenes: Viago the dandy vampire going round waking the others up in the evening to have a house meeting about the washing-up, which hasn’t been done for years. Petyr the very, very old-school vampire doesn’t come out of his coffin in the cellar for this, he sucks a black cockerel dry for breakfast instead.

The werewolves applying self-help techniques to control their condition (very Terry Pratchett, that bit), but, ooops, there goes the full moon.

Jackie calling up all the people she dislikes to persuade them to come out to a party so the vampires can have some fresh blood: that is the best way to use Friends Reunited I’ve ever seen.

Viago’s gentle charm and beautiful manners (he’s careful to put newspaper on the carpet before feeding) contrasting with his utter indifference to the humans he feeds on, until he finds a very unexpected true love.

Vladimir’s subtle, boastful inadequacy: he can’t even fight off another vampire, a human has to do it for him.

The unexpected dips into real sadness, showing the horror of eternal existence, give the film emotional depth. This doesn’t last for long, there’s always a new bad taste joke just about to happen. No surprises that Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were thanked in the credits. I loved it: go see it.

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