What We Do in the Shadows

March 8, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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½

I really have so little to say about this film. It thought it was so much funnier than I thought it was. Granted, comedy is tricky and I am notoriously fickle in that arena. I tend to like parody (like Christopher Guest’s films) or absurdity (like Wes Anderson’s) and, while this was essentially an absurdist parody, it had none of the sophistication of those other two. This mockumentary (that whole genre is getting a bit tired, frankly) purportedly follows 4 vampires who are flat mates in Wellington, New Zealand. We get a “behind-the-scenes” look at what it’s like to be an ancient evil in the modern world. Reinventing classic horror characters as either endearing or funny is hardly new but this could have had potential and certainly most critics liked it (95% of them would it “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes). However, there was nothing new here for me. The jokes were largely variations on the fish-out-of-water gag that has been a cornerstone of humor for longer than these undead have been around. That and the other standard gag of showing some larger-than-life group experience the same mundane existence the rest of us do; see vampires squabble about who is going to do the dishes, how fun. Next, we’ll have a movie about zombie office workers. Werewolf high school students (oh, wait…). Speaking of werewolves and zombies, there are a few of them thrown in here as well. Which reminds me: if you can’t make a horror comedy funny, at least make it look good. But the special effects were so amateurish as to be the only things laughable here. Peter Jackson is given a thanks in the credits but its clearly not for helping out in any way. The only reason I can’t give this film a big zero is because there is a certain amount of heart and soul put into it by the two writers/directors/lead actors. This is clearly their labor of love and not some cynical Hollywood misstep. That deserves some sort of nod, however small it may be.

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