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What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

'What we do in the Shadows' is a mockumentary style film that centres around the life of four vampires living in a house in Wellington, New Zealand. Do not let the overly basic premise of this film fool you into thinking that it lacks substance. With the hilarious minds of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement at the helm, this laugh a minute look into the day to day life of vampires is nothing short of genius.

The small tight-knit casting mainly focuses on the three members of the house - consisting of Viago, played by Waititi, Vladislav, played by Clement, and my personal favourite, Deacon, played by Jonnh Brugh. All of these individual cast members have more than enough screen time to showcase their individual talents and the comedic timing between the three of them is impeccable. However it is Brugh who I find to be the scene stealer. Every time he was on screen, his deadpan comedy resonated with me on a much higher level than the other cast members. We are later introduced to newly turn member of the group Nick, played by Cori Gonzalez Macuer. Nick is a fantastic addition to the pre established dynamic and provides some incredibly hysterical moments only showcasing the brilliantly put together writings of Waititi and Clement.

Another strong element the writing implements into this story is the thoughtful handling of vampire lore. It is not only done in rather a unique way that makes these vampire stand separate from the rest, but it also takes all of the troupes we have come to learn over the years and implements them into real world situations with hysterical results. The character of Nick is a perfect tool used to showcase this to the audience, without having dull and drawn out moments of exposition we often find in films similar to this. As he changes, we too follow this journey as we learn the impact this new life of the night has on him and all of the obstacles and advantage there are to being a vampire.

As I mentioned earlier, 'What we do in the Shadows' is a mockumentary and is shot in such a way. Focusing on interview segments, intertwined with a camera crew following the daily mishaps of the central focus vampires. As someone who is a fan of both documentary and found footage films, I feel like the choice to present this film in this way was the best choice. It provides a more authentic and engaging way of showcasing this narrative, whilst also opening the door to play fast and loose with the striker formula that the aforementioned styles abide by. Combining the two on a much lighter format makes everything feel much more digestible and helps the comedic tone that the majority of these films don't tend to follow feel more palatable to the audience.

'What we do in the Shadows' has gone on to spawn an exceptionally entertaining long-running TV series, that has not only carried over everything that works perfect here but expanded on it by introducing a much vaster world that occasionally brings back characters that feature throughout this film. A narrative framing that I personally feel works much better for this style of story telling, as it provides opportunity to expand upon its storytelling and lore building. Yet, I can't help but feel like a big part of me would love to see this get a more formal sequel that solely focuses on the central characters of this film. 'What we do in the Shadows' is a unique comedy horror power house that should not be overlooked, and certainly not underestimated by horror fans, that gains nothing but the highest of praise from me.



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