Cinematic Releases: What We Do In The Shadows

What We Do In The Shadows is now in limited release.

"Call us Addams Family one more
time and we'll eat your face."
Who knew that an entire movie could be built around one simple question – “Wouldn’t it be funny to watch centuries old vampires dealing with the monotony and challenges of life in the modern world?”.  What We Do in the Shadows from Flight of the Conchords alum Jermaine Clement and Eagle Versus Shark director Taika Waititi somehow manages to be remarkably funny throughout while relying almost exclusively this relatively narrow premise.

Harkening back to the slapstick and silliness of some of the most beloved comedies of the 1980’s, Shadows utilizes a series of increasingly absurd gags and situations that allow the film to be both engaging and unexpected.  The film absolutely nails its documentary tone, especially in the hilariously awkward opening introductory scenes, in which Waititi is completely perfect as the goofy, camera shy newly minted reality TV star.  

While obviously silly, performances are appropriately deadpan and honest throughout, and make for an oddly convincing documentary about modern vampires in small town New Zealand.  A few moments miss the mark, but don’t derail the comedy completely, and the moderately low budget flick even manages a few convincing special effects and some very funny gore.

"I just love vinyl."
Unsurprisingly, Shadows is not perfect.  The narrative slogs a bit in the third act, and a few bits are over-done or under-utilized.  There is certainly some clever dialog and a several very smart references to vampire lore and superstition, which will keep even a hardcore vamp fan interested and laughing.  The influences from Clement’s past experiences with Flight of the Conchords are definitely apparent, so fans of the series (at least the first season) will likely enjoy Shadows.  In the end, Shadows is an enjoyable, watchable comedy with a well-executed gimmick to set it apart from the rest.

-Patrick B. McDonald