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Published September 8th 2014
A of age flick for the undead
This New Zealand mockumentary is the result of a 10 year on-and-off collaboration between Taika Waititi (who has a list of credentials as long as your arm, most notably as writer and director of the 2010 film Boy) and Jemaine Clement (of Tongan Ninja, Flight of the Conchords and Gentlemen Broncos).
From a germ of an idea back in 2004 to its premieres at Sundance, Berlin, Sydney and Melbourne International Film Festivals, this little movie is punching well above its weight. What We Do in the Shadows won this year's Best Film and Audience Award at the Full Moon – Horror & Fantasy Film Festival in Transylvania: the mecca of all things vampire.
A share house of vampires allows a film crew in to document their daily lives. The audience is introduced to the five members of the household whose nightly existence is sometimes humdrum, occasionally blood-spattered but never dull. When newbie Nick invites his human friend and IT guy Stu into the mix, things start to get a little messy.
Fans of the Conchords will recognise both Clement as pretty boy Vladislav and Rhys Darby as Anton, the leader of the werewolf pack and the sort of character you'd be happy to take home to meet your mother any day of the month except for a full moon. He keeps his rowdy mates on the straight and narrow - "Remember we're werewolves, not swear wolves" - and hands out fashion tips for transformations. (Tight jeans do not provide the extra room required when your calf muscles swell to three times their normal size.)
What We Do in the Shadows is a fun-packed 90 minutes that deserves to do well in the cutthroat world of horror movies. It's a sort of Kiwi Young Ones – a little bit undergraduate and a whole lot of violent. The fact that the youngest member of the Shadows household is 379 years old doesn't mean they're grown ups.
In the words of the great werewolf impersonator Rhys Darby "We want this film to rock in this country so the Americans will say 'Oh yeah – we'll check this out."
So get into the ANZAC spirit and get yourselves along to What We Do in the Shadows for a bloody good laugh.