This year, from the shadow of the Oscar nominated movies and the summer blockbusters emerged a film that would outwit and outdo the majority of those works to become the most pleasant surprise of 2014, and one of its best movies. What We Do in the Shadows, a New Zealand film, is here to charm, impress and entertain us in a fairly original way.
The film is a ‘documentary’ that focuses on the lives of three vampires, Viago (Taika Waitti), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) as they prepare for the infamous Unholy Masquerade and introduce an newly-turned vampire into their world of vampirism.
The vampire theme has long begged for a well-crafted dark comedy, and here it gets just that. What We Do in The Shadows hits all the high notes of dark humor which works wonders when combined with actual knowledge of the Dark World setting and its history (it even pays tribute to Nosferatu). However, the movie doesn’t solely focus on the horrific part of being an undead creature, but also shines its light on the simple things like four people living together, going to parties, and the likes. Thus, the film’s understanding of bachelor life and its fascination with vampires results in some absolutely sidesplitting scenes and situations.
Debuting co-directors Taika Waitti and Jemaine Clement prove their worth as they use a washed up shooting style and a rookie crew and still manage to craft a fine piece of filmmaking. Having a movie shot documentary style has been abused over the last couple of years, but in What We Do in The Shadows, it is done impeccably right it becomes a major asset in the film’s arsenal.
Whether it’s the two directors’ fine work, the cast’s raw talent, or both, the newcomers work out a fantastic job portraying the characters, which, combined with the facts that the actors aren’t famous and that the movie is seen through the lens of a documentary crew truly brings the characters to life (special nod for Jonathan Brugh who was totally hilarious every time he was on screen). For a second there, due to the excellent ensemble, one would even want to believe what they’re watching is an actual documentary.
What We Do in The Shadows is a perfectly crafted dark comedy that combines surprising elements into one unexpectedly grand ensemble: The debuting directors do a fine job, the documentary actually works, and the rookie cast delivers splendid performances. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s clearly here simply for the sake of filmmaking, turning it into the gem of the year.