Vampires in ‘Shadows’ will slay you with laughter

By Bob Bloom

Life for a vampire is tough and complicated in the 21st century according to the hilarious mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows.”
This feature follows a quartet of vampires who share a flat in Wellington, New Zealand, where they discuss their cultural and age differences, bicker over divvying up the house chores and bring “guests” on whom they dine.
Like “This Is Spinal Tap,” the granddaddy of all mockumentary films, “What We Do in the Shadows” is filmed in a straight and serious manner.
The film was written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taikia Waititi, who costar as Vladislav and Viago, two of the four very unhip vampires who share their nightly lives with a documentary film crew.
Clement and Waititi are known for their very funny HBO series “Flight of the Conchords,” which lampooned the music business.
The sequences in the flat spoof similar scenes in reality TV shows about strangers tossed together as roommates.
In this case, though, the dishes have been sitting around for five years.
On the streets of Wellington, the vampires have trouble getting into clubs because they must be invited to enter. Their attempts to pick up victims are as pathetic as those in a teen romantic comedy.
The vampires even get into scraps with werewolves as they insult and taunt each other when crossing paths, strutting, threatening and striking macho poses.
“What We Do in the Shadows” elicits laughs from beginning to end, with well-paced and well-placed gags and situations.
Each vampire displays a distinct personality that comes off as rather pathetic and clueless about the world in which they find themselves.
A married woman, who does the bidding of one of the vampires, complains that she is being held back from becoming one of the undead because of her sex and constantly badgers her master about being promoted to a bloodsucker.
The vampires learn about modern technology from a computer geek as they take selfies, use Google to search for themselves and Skype with former servants.
The film deftly manages to spoof vampire lore and our impersonal computer-reliant society at the same time.
“What We Do in the Shadows” is a joy, a little film that offers an entertaining excursion in the silly and the supernatural.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob ( and The Film Yap ( He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes:

3½ stars out of 4
Unrated, supernatural violence

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