Sunday, September 13, 2015

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) ***1/2

I quit watching Mtv a long time ago, but not before seeing a little bit of “The Real World.” One of the early reality-TV shows, “The Real World” placed a bunch of twenty-somethings in a house together in some big city, then let cameras record their interactions. It spawned a million copy-cats and parodies, including “Big Brother” and the Dave Chappelle “Mad Real World” skit.
“What We Do in the Shadows” carries on this tradition with a mockumentary about a group of vampires sharing a house in New Zealand. Jemaine Clement plays Vladislav the Poker, who was once known for “poking people with implements.” Jonathon Brugh is Deacon, the bad-boy of the group, who refuses to wash dishes. Taika Waititi plays Viago, an “eighteenth-century dandy” who tries to keep peace in the group. Down in the basement lives Petyr, the most ancient of the group, who no longer goes out or even speaks.

These vampires spend their nights looking for victims and trying to get into cool dance clubs, which is difficult because, as vampires, they can't go in unless they are specifically invited. Occasionally they will run into the local werewolf pack, which always leads to tension. Then Petyr turns one of their victims into a new vampire, totally disrupting the group's dynamics.

I was attracted to this film by the involvement of Jemaine Clement, of “Flight of the Conchords.” Bret McKenzie isn't in it, so this is no Conchords reunion, but Rhys Darby (who played Murray on Conchords) does have a small role, and the tone of the humor is similar, if slightly more broad. The film has fun with various pieces of vampire lore and with the posturing inherent in group dynamics. If you are a “Flight of the Conchords” fan, or if you enjoy “This is Spinal Tap,” then this movie is for you.

3.5 stars out of 5

No comments: