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humpreys-What-We-Do-in-the-Shadows

A couple of months ago when I did a review of “The Lobster” I said that I was planning on reviewing more films that aren’t actually at the cinema right now. That hasn’t really happened yet because I’ve been writing other things, and there have been films that I’ve seen at the cinema that I had a lot to say about so I wanted to review them first, but hopefully now that’s going to change.

“What We Do in the Shadows” is a pseudo-documentary/mockumentary about a group of vampires who share a house together, depicting not only how they attempt to function in modern society but also how they interact with humans and other supernatural beings. It’s a satirical piece which pokes fun at the tropes that surround the vampire genre, which is pretty appealing from my perspective given how diluted that genre has become in recent times.

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This film was originally released in 2014, but I’m reviewing it now because I really liked it, and also because it’s widely available. “What We Do in the Shadows” is one of the many crazy films on Netflix, which makes it worth reviewing now because most people will have access to it, and I also expect that not many people will have heard about it. The main reason that people review films which are playing at the cinema is that, 1) they’re relevant, but also 2) they’re within reach. If you know a film is at the cinema and then hear that it’s a good watch then there’s a chance that you’ll go see it, so the same should apply to a film that you hear is awesome that’s on Netflix.

The best thing I can say about “What We Do in the Shadows” is that it feels a lot like an amalgamation of “Modern Family” and “Summer Heights High”… but with vampires. It stars one of the members of the comedy duo Flight of the Concords, Jemaine Clement, which immediately pulled me in. If you don’t know about them then I would definitely recommend that you check them out on YouTube – or just watch “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!” because that’s a great film and one of their songs plays over a montage.

The most interesting aspect of this film’s story is how the vampires differ not only in personality, but in age. Each member of the group comes from a different period of time, and whilst this is explored sparingly, it does make for quite a few laughs. I would’ve liked the vampires to be a little bit more confused when things like Facebook were introduced to the story, because I think that could’ve been played for laughs in a bigger way, but the age differences still made the film really funny. The disconnect between the initial group and Nick (played by Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), who is turned towards the start of the film, is hilarious, particularly because Nick himself is a bit of an idiot.

There are a number of fantastic lines in the film, and the way that it deals with issues like vampires not having a reflection, their need to be invited into anywhere that they want to go, and their craving of human blood, is utterly brilliant. Add on to this a clever demonstration of what happens when a vampire eats normal food (‘Nick ate the chip’), and a side-splitting explanation of why vampires prefer to drink the blood of virgins, and you have a film which I feel will be a cult classic in coming years.

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In essence “What We Do in the Shadows” is a comedy about what it would be like to be a vampire in modern times, but it doesn’t take itself very seriously. Instead of making vampires out to be these horrible creatures who lose all of their humanity, it portrays them as people with insecurities and imperfections, just like the rest of us – the only difference is that they’re out of touch with reality and they have to drink blood to survive. It’s funny, intelligent, and easy to watch, so if you’re scrolling through Netflix later I would heartily recommend it.

9/10

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