What We Do In the Shadows
2014 • 85 minutes • Madman Entertainment
I never watched The Office while it was on. Or Parks and Recreation (it’s on my list! After 30 Rock!). Or the films of Christopher Guest. I mean, I’ve seen the original British Office, which is actually a terrifying portrait of awful human beings, and I’ve seen The Thick of It and In The Loop during the dawn of my Peter Capaldi obsession last fall. Oh, and I’ve seen Spinal Tap, for… I imagine it was eighties-related reasons? That’s a pretty good assumption to make. But that’s not my point.
My point is that I am not as immured to mockumentaries as most people are. They just largely don’t interest me, as a genre, so I don’t seek them out. And If I don’t seek them out, then I can’t get bored with them. And I only seek them out when there’s something else to interest me. Like, say, the talents of Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement and Boy’s Taika Waititi. And vampires attempting to navigate modern life with all the success of, say, Sleepy Hollow’s Ichabod Crane. (Although I imagine he’s been doing better as of late, right? I stopped watching it because I’m a busy lady and Agent Carter exists.)
What We Do in the Shadows, presented as a New Zealand documentary via the hilarious use of a vintage New Zealand Film Board logo, follows a quartet of vampire flatmates—sweet, prissy Viago, lusty, violent Vladislav, brooding, mean-spirited Deacon, and basically Count Orlok Petyr—in the months leading up to the Unholy Masquerade, the biggest social event of the undead calendar. Like most mockumentaries, it wanders, despite its fleet eighty-five minute running time. The closest thing to a plot the film produces is the story of Nick, a young man Petyr sires, whose fratty behavior and allegiance to his human friend Stu starts getting the flatmates in trouble. Instead, it’s much more interested in simply pitting vampires against the modern world.