Originally published on This Is Film
I’m no expert on vampire films, or anything to do with horror, but even to an outsider like myself, it’s easy to see that What We Do In the Shadows is here to basically breathe some new life into a genre that has turned to a laughing stock.
While Twilight seemed to make legions of teenage girls want to “get bitten” (I’m proud to say that even though I was the prime age for this craze, I never read the books or saw the movies) even though it looked like possibly one of the worst lifestyle choices ever (a pasty Robert Pattinson, crazy immortal family members that tear the place apart at a single drop of blood, and that birth scene? No way), What We Do in the Shadows makes it look pretty good again.
Like this year’s underseen Only Lovers Left Alive, there’s not much in the way of dense, expositional plotting in What We Do in the Shadows. It’s instead (albeit Shadows does it in a more direct way through a mockmentary format) just wandering around with some people that are literally living out every hipster that has said “I was born in the wrong generation’s” dream. It’s basically a 90 minute hangout as a bunch of vampires argue about not cleaning up after well, you know…being vampires, arguing about chores not being done, having no reflections in the mirror, and learning martial arts while levitating. Once it turns to night and (most of) the danger of spontaneously combusting disappears and Viago, Vladislav and Deacon venture outside of their flat and into Vellington, it only gets funnier. There’s werewolves, vampire meetings at the local bowls club, and the dangers of eating human food. There’s no “I’ve been 16 for a long time”, creepily preying on teenage girls or skin that looks like it’s had a bucket of glitter dumped over it, instead they’re the kind of cool, punk-rock, laidback beings that get to go out all night and sleep all day like rockstars. It’s similar to the misfits of Boy the ragtag bunch of cousins that all live with their grandma. Except in Shadows, it’s about the vampires having to assimilate to their surroundings, finding out how to live in the 21st century and discovering Skype and digital photography.
Like Boy, What We Do in the Shadows is one of the most laugh-out-loud, satisfying comedies of the year. Why? Because it doesn’t rely on one big joke that mostly gets spoiled in the trailer, instead the laughs flow as fast as the blood. Literally everything gets made fun of here – the share house stereotypes of the one that is sleazy and brings home too many girls, the one that doesn’t pay rent, the one that doesn’t do the dishes (and hasn’t for five years). Oh and also, you know the one that lives downstairs and never talks is a few thousand years old.
Overall, What We Do in the Shadows has the same lived in and homemade charm like the sparklers in Boy and it’s certainly as entertaining and original. It takes vampire traits that were taken way too seriously in movies such asTwilight and their many offshoots that were wafter-thin, and makes them appropriately hilarious – because, as cool as they are, immortality is a pretty hilarious idea, being forever young, getting to experience every time period at the same age.