What We Do in the Shadows | Jemaine and Taika’s vampire houseshare comedy is a scream

What We Do in the Shadows

Some interviews with some vampires.

What We Do in the Shadows, a hilariously silly mockumentary about a vampire houseshare in present-day New Zealand, taps a rich vein of comedy by inserting ancient bloodsuckers into a modern setting that couldn’t be more mundane.

Undead housemates Vladislav (Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement), Viago (Taika Waititi) and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) bicker over the washing up, host excruciatingly awkward dinner parties for potential victims and fail to get into nightclubs – and the sheer incongruity of combining vampire lore with drab 21st-century life down under is priceless.

An unseen human film crew is following the characters as they go about their lives, and co-writer-directors Clement and Waititi exploit the reality TV setup with dry, deadpan wit, mining humour from the clash of personalities between the trio, who each retains the manners of the different era in which they became a vampire.

What We Do in the Shadows - Jemaine Clement Taika Waititi Jonathan Brugh

Transylvanian Vladislav is an 862-year-old rampage and orgies kind of guy; Viago a gentle 18th-century dandy; and preening 185-year-old Deacon ‘the young, bad boy of the group’. A fourth housemate, 8,000 year-old, Nosferatu-like Petyr (Ben Fransham) mostly remains walled up in the cellar.

The arrival of brash newcomer Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), accidentally turned into a vampire by Petyr, shakes up the status quo, as does the appearance of Nick’s buddy Stu, an IT guy who helps the vampires get to grips with modern technology and social media.

On top of which they also have to contend with the presence of a bunch of plaid-clad werewolves with anger-management issues. ‘Remember, we’re werewolves not swearwolves,’ is their mantra. Yes, being a modern-day vampire is a pain, but this vampire movie is a scream.


Certificate 15. Runtime 85 mins. Directors Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement.

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