What We Do In The Shadows; or The Office Meets The Vampire Chronicles

Hello and Hallo-welcome to another edition of Laugh-it-off Monday, where we try and start our week from a point of laughter, to really build up to those screams. You join your bloggers, Andy and Lilly, as they sit down for a house meeting to discuss the ground rules, such as who does the dishes when and whether or not blood stains will invalidate their lease.

Today’s film offering: What We Do in the Shadows

Not to be confused with what we don't in the sunshine.
Not to be confused with what we don’t in the sunshine.

Andy: Remember how last week we said New Zealand was becoming the King of Comedy-Horror? This is the jewel in the crown, as far as we’re concerned.

The plot couldn’t be simpler – a documentary crew follows around four housemates as they try to navigate an increasingly complex 21st Century. Also, they’re all vampires. The result is something like Parks and Recreation crossed with Interview with the Vampire. You think kids think you’re out of touch at 30? Try being 400.

The genius of this film is that the vampires are not only trying to appear cool and with it to the outside world, they’re also trying to do it for the film crew. The embarrassing asides about how they have to draw each other’s appearances because they can’t see their reflections, or endless bickering about housework, are not gracefully swept under the rug, despite their best efforts.

Lilly: This film tries to combine not only numerous sources of vampire lore, but numerous styles of comedy, with the cut-to interviews, plays on words (‘evil bidding’ was one of my favourite moments in the film), and lad comedy with pranks and in-jokes being awkwardly explained to only have backfire. Then there was comedy around their killing, because yes, they’re vampires, they kill, so what–it was great. Again, this was a film, like Young Frankenstein that actually seemed to like the source material it was parodying, paying some attention to the tropes you get–the very fact that they had varying styles of vampires based on how old they were–the oldest, Petyr, looking like Nosferatu–was brilliant. 

Andy: And, they’re just so earnest, and the result is a quartet that is oddly endearing, as well as shambolic. You almost forget that they are essentially looking for people to eat on their nightly jaunts.

There’s just so much to like in this film, from the clearly very carefully thought out difficulties of being a vampire in the 21st Century, as well as keeping a low profile, all the way to their relationship difficulties – ex-girlfriends, overly-familiar familiars and a hilarious local rivalry with an equally useless pack of werewolves.

Lilly: It takes something that has been blown way out of proportion (vampires) in the last ten years of film and makes it more, y’know, human. Part of the terror of vampires is that, unlike a lot of the monsters and things that go bump in the night, they are actually often able to blend in–sure, they have fangs, or long nails, or are strong, but so do goths who weight lift, right? You can mistake a vampire for someone like you, and these vampires even more so. You can see this most in Vladislav’s struggle with seeing his ex at an event they are going to. Who hasn’t angrily huffed over the ex daring to show up some place you wanted to show up? And he’s immortal, so it’s going to keep happening! I mean. Come on. It doesn’t ignore either genre, horror or comedy, in its undertaking, and I really appreciate that. It’s a perfect balance, and a perfect film to end our laugh-it-off Mondays with.

Andy:It’s just so effortlessly good. Horror-Comedy fans, definitely check this out.


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