*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* For the most part this has been a pretty dead season. Ok, this is a little too early for bad puns. My humor is not meant to draw bloody idiots. In all seriousness, there are very few visual narratives I have even really liked within this season. Sometimes though you have to keep searching. It is this search of cinematic gold that lead me to the delightful indie theatre, The Magic Lantern, one fateful Tuesday night. It here that I transformed, and drank the flesh of a few unwitting moviegoers... Wait! What I meant to say is that I ate up a sumptuous comedy by the name of What We Do In the Shadows.
This delicious comedy happens to be "mockumentary" about - if it isn't already apparent - Vampires. Let me repeat myself for greater affect: VAMPIRES!!! In a fictional universe (duh!) a documentary crew is given unprecedented, exclusive access to a group of vampires sharing a flat in New Zealand. It chronicles their daily struggle of finding fresh blood, staying out of sunlight, and dealing with the crazy dilemma of finding someone to do the dishes.
Like any comedy, I will freely admit that it is all subjective. That being said, one can tell whether something is clever and well-written regardless if it is someone's cup of tea or not.
Yes, What We Do In the Shadows is in a sense a one trick pony. They run the same joke over and over again; but - and a big but at that - they do it in a million different ways! It is these humorous way of looking at the bloodsuckers living in the mundane that carry the film. What We Do In the Shadows knows what it is "mocking", but it does so in a gleeful ignorance. It mentions twilight, from what I remember, only once. Of course this moment is hilarious, but it is not bound by this joke as others have been. They are mocking everything about vampires, while still paying respect to its history.
It is here where the writing and brilliantly absurd acting shine. The writer/directors, Jemaine Clement (best known for Flight of the Conchords) and Taiki Waititi - also starring as Vladislav and Viago - are to blame. They know how to make what seems boring and pierce through dull exterior to something clever. This is shown through ridiculous line such as, "Yeah some of our clothes are from victims. You might bite someone and then, you think, 'Oooh, those are some nice pants!'." These moments are made even better by wildly bizarre facial expressions and quirky delivery, all leading to great comedic chemistry and timing. I wish I could be more specific, but most of this is simply self-evident when watching the film.
Another reason What We Do In the Shadows works is because of the deliberate pacing. Most films aren't willing to edit what wasn't all that great out of the movie. This does! It is consistently clever, and ridiculous throughout because all the bull$#!+ was cut out. It's only eighty six minutes, but it's an incredibly well paced eighty six minutes that deliver. Sure, it may leave you wanting a little more, but that is a good thing. In the end we are left with a film worth watching.
With all my praise, What We Do In the Shadows is not perfect. The ending doesn't completely work on all levels, and while I may keep praising the humor; none of it so funny that I couldn't hold my bladder or tears. That is to say, it is not a masterpiece on any levels even for the elusive opinion on what is best with comedy. With that out of the way, I can't recommend What We Do In the Shadows enough. It is a ridiculous film that carries its humour through all its acts, and delivers one of the funniest and clever things I have seen in a while. It is this dark, twisted view on these pale hunters of the night that cracks me up over and over again. Go see it if you can, just beware of showings after nightfall. I might be there. $#!+, my word count is six six six. I can't end it here. . .
Personal Preference: 4/5
Critical Analysis: 4.5/5