We are just under two weeks away from the new Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok, and, in preparation for that movie, I watched one of the classic films from the oeuvre of Thor: Ragnarok’s director, Taika Waititi, What We Do In the Shadows,a film Waititi co-wrote and co-directed with Jermaine Clement .
This was a film from 2015, but I had not ever seen it before. I had heard great things about it but I have been delaying watching it until it got closer to Thor’s theatrical release. This felt like the perfect time to watch.
What We Do In the Shadows is a documentary-style film in the vein of “This is Spinal Tap” where we follow the undead lives of four vampires who share a flat together despite being extremely different.
Spoofing not only the vampire genre, but also The Real World type reality show, What We Do In the Shadows is fully original, funny and heart-warming. It deals with friendship and brotherhood among a group of vampires who really should never get along.
There are some truly dark moments of comedy that are hilariously filmed in such a serious and deadpan style that it only increases the humor. This film breathes a new undead life into what had really become a stale genre of movies.
Vampires had been done to death. Since Twilight, which gets a good send up in the film as well, the vampire has been everywhere and has become overused. Plus, the use of zombies and werewolves have had a similar fate. What We Do In the Shadows takes those familiar characters and shows that it is not the type of character that has been overused, but the typical characters. When a movie does something original and well-done with a vampire, it can still be creative. The answer to losing interest in a genre is simply to make a good movie.
Jermaine Clement played Vladislav. Taika Waititi played Viago. Jonathon Brugh played Deacon and Ben Fransham played Petyr, the Nosferatu-like vampire that sired the other three. Things start becoming troubling when Nick (Cori Gonzales-Macuer) gets turned into a vampire and seems to not understand the vampire rules. He brings a human named Stu (Stu Rutherford) into the house (albeit, everyone seems to love Stu), continually brags to people that he is a vampire and causes stress in his friends’ undead lives.
There are so many really funny scenes in this movie that you find yourself truly engaged in the film. The characters are engaging and entertaining. The mockumentary style really works in this film and the acting is top notch. Every vampire trope is handled in a new and entertaining manner than they all feel completely fresh.
After watching What We Do In the Shadows, I have an even greater anticipation for Thor: Ragnarok, if only to see how Taika Waititi can bring this style of humor into the Marvel Universe.