“We’re Werewolves, not Swear-Wolves”
It might not necessarily handle an original subject but the comedy gold that comes out spins a refreshing twist and more than makes up for choosing to tackle a familiar genre. What We Do In The Shadows is another shining example of the style of humor The Flight of the Conchords are famous for, which makes sense because both were produced and co-directed by one half of that duo in Jermaine Clement. The jokes that come from this feature adaption are as witty and clever as their sense of knowing how to produce new ideas from a subject matter that’s inherently dated. Forget Twilight, this very well might be the funniest movie about Vampires and Werewolves ever made. But then again, the bar wasn’t really that set that high, to begin with.
The story follows a group of Vampires living together in an old house, as cameras follow their daily events and capture the lives of each character as they try to exist in harmony. Yes, it’s a similar style of mockumentary that I’ve seen before in TV shows like The Office or Modern Family, but coupled with the charm of the story and of the humor of the characters, it more than enough raises it up from a simple vampire story and instead a hilarious film that just happens to revolve around the supernatural.
Why so many of jokes worked so well in What We Do In The Shadows is mainly thanks to its charismatic actors in their lead roles. Jermaine Clement is a notable standout, who has a nice knowledge of timing and delivery to help sell the punchlines of the jokes even more, which is an aspect that made me enjoy that style of humor with his band The Flight of the Conchords, so I was glad to see it translate so well here when tackling a different subject and environment. More importantly, I thought most of the jokes were actually genuinely funny.
The humor was often based off making fun of typical tropes associated with depictions of Vampires and I was glad to see them poking fun at such stereotypes of themselves. The idea to put them into a modern setting and explore how Vampires and Werewolves would live in current society also added to the jokes that could be made. It made the comedy more original whilst still being funny and even relatable.
What I was watching was a humorous interpretation of the question, if vampires and werewolves did exist, how would they fit into the world that we now know? Of course, the answer divulged into the lighter humorous side but that’s the whole point when the film is a comedy. So, although there may have been some flaws with how certain events would work in reality, (like why is there no police around investigating suspicious disappearances of people at their house) I don’t care because the script is intended to make me laugh and not portray an incredibly realistic adaption. All it needs is just enough logic and relatability to a modern setting and that’s it.
Apart from my love of the story, I also enjoyed the technical aspects of the film, particularly with the practical effects. There were often scenes showing vampires floating in the air, walking on walls, or even just fighting ludicrously outside of a club which was all done great. Not only did it add to the portrayal of their abilities, so it wasn’t just a film about people dressed to look like vampires. It also showed a level of care and effort to make those scenes work which I appreciated it. This is my favorite film from Taika Waititi who co-directed it alongside with Jermaine Clement, who later went onto to helm Thor: Ragnarok which in my eyes, wasn’t as funny as What We Do In The Shadows.
This film is very accessible and not only because it’s out on Netflix in Australia and the United States, but also from an audience level. The jokes and style of humor is never at all mean-spirited nor is it overly dark or black comedy, which is probably why The Flight of The Conchords have gained such recognition. The hilarity comes from lampooning the tropes in a clever way but also by focusing on witty observational remarks that again ooze why the script is fantastic to watch. What We Do In The Shadows is quotable, funny and very charming. Watch it if you’re in for a good comedy but have been thinking you’ve seen them all because this is definitely one of those hidden gems. See it.