Movie #97 2020: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Taika Waititi may have found mainstream success with Thor: Ragnarok and multiple Oscar-winner and nominee, Jojo Rabbit, but before even Hunt For the Wilderpeople came around, he directed this corker of a movie with his comedy partner, Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Concords).

What We Do In The Shadows is a New Zealand spoof movie, in which the undead show the audience what they do behind closed doors, hence the title. Think The Office, sprinkled with Parks & Recreation magic, but with vampires instead of straight-laced desk jockeys, and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Purely because this is an original concept, it won points with me right off the bat. This is a film that isn’t trying to rip anyone else off, and simply takes ideas from other artists (namely the television shows I mentioned above), and moulds those ideas into something new. There is little wonder it got a TV show spin-off based on it afterwards.

First and foremost, this is the most quotable movie I’ve seen in donkey’s years. With zingers such as ”we’re werewolves, not swearwolves” and ”when you are a vampire you become very sexy”, it’s clear as to why I was howling with laughter all the way through. What Shadows does well is lovingly poke fun at not only vampire movies, but vampire lore in general. As someone who has had a lifelong obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was extremely funny to me. But even if you’re not well-educated in the Buffyverse (or The Twilight Saga, if you weren’t as fortunate), I’m confident that this movie will make anyone with a brain and a love for sharp wit laugh.

Strangely, I feel as though the exception to that rule may be The Americans™. I just can’t imagine that Americans in general would find this very funny, unless they are fans of the Ricky Gervais or Armando Iannucci realm of comedy. Maybe I’m wrong, but it just seems like a very specific, quirky type of New Zealand humour that may appeal more to Brits, Australians, and – at a push – Canadians. Let me know if you’re American and enjoyed this movie though – congrats, you have great taste!

Furthermore, movies that are 90 minutes long or less deserve more credit. Shadows runs for a mere 86 minutes, but still told a complete story in such a short time, which meant I didn’t get distracted for once! However, this is a film that could have been another hour and I’d probably have still been chuckling continuously.

On that note, I’m going to go and seek out the TV show, which I’m told is on BBC iPlayer!

What We Do In The Shadows is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

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