Movie Review: “What We Do in the Shadows” – Must See Mockumentary

Written by Samah Ali May 07, 2015


The creators of the popular show “Flight of the Concords” are back and are keeping up the great comedy. Their latest feature plays off old school, and new school, vampire tropes that heavily relies on jokes and makes “What We Do in the Shadows” is the must-see mockumentary of the season.

The movie follows four vampires living in a house as they learn to adapt to today’s contemporary society. Easy, but somehow done so well. Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) is the sadistic ladies man with an ongoing hatred of a creature known as ‘the beast’, Viago (Taika Waititi) is the 18th century mediator with old school style and persona, Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) is the young bad boy with brooding alpha male tendencies, and Petyr (Ben Fransham) is the animalistic vampire whose lost his humanistic qualities after centuries of dwelling the earth. The newest vampire of the group, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), keeps the old school vampires up to date with the latest technology.

 “When you put four vampires in a flat obviously there will be some tension.”

“What We Do in the Shadows” is hilarious. Majority of the film is dominated with meaningless camera footage filled with various puns and jokes that play off myths surrounding the creatures. It’s obvious writers-directors Clement and Waititi had a simple idea and let the rest unfold on screen, and it turned our spectacularly. Drawing pictures of each other because vampires have no reflections. Finding a pack of werewolves. Introducing a human, Stu (Stuart Rutherford), that is only a friend, not food. Absolute comedy. There is a faint plot in sight, but the joy of “What We Do in the Shadows” is the chaotic banter and partying in between every meal.


Since the film is mostly following a story rather than a plot it does slow down at times. The semi-developed plot comes in and wraps up within the last thirty minutes of the movie, but the rest of the time is filled with creative circumstances that overpower the slow time gaps.

“We are just about to walk past a werewolf so shit may go down!”

Watching the century old vampires learn how to live in modern day circumstances was probably the highlight of “What We Do in the Shadows”. Their practices, clothing, and activities were outdated. Their fashion sense, visibly seen with Viago, lacked any awareness of today’s style trends and Nick’s help provided great laughs. Even as Stu tagged along to all of their vampirish events showed the growing difference between vampires and humans. Petyr’s absence helped too.


“What We Do in the Shadows” puts a great twist on mockumentaries. Watching five vampires in New Zealand seems like a simple premise but Clement, Waititi, Brugh, Fransham, and Gonzalez-Macuer’s excellent chemistry made the movie as they bounced off each other with every line. It’s difficult to believe “What We Do in the Shadows” was scripted because of the fresh jokes in each scene – ‘werewolves not swear-wolves’, vampire orgies, Night of the Un-living parties. Pure entertainment. Watch this movie.

Rating: 8/10


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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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