Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Rhys Darby, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Jason Hoyte, Karen O'Leary, Mike Minogue
Written by: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Directed by: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 86
Date: 02/13/2015

What We Do in the Shadows (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Monster Yuks

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jemaine Clement is best known as half of the Flight of the Conchords team, while Taika Waititi has worked as a writer and director on that show. They also made the comedy Eagle vs Shark together. Now the two team up as co-stars, co-writers, and co-directors on What We Do in the Shadows. Even though mockumentaries and vampires have both been done to death lately, the movie still manages some good ideas and a few hearty laughs.

In New Zealand, four vampires share a flat together. There's 862 year-old Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), once known for torturing his victims; 317 year-old Viago (Taika Waititi), who is a "dandy" and likes to hold house meetings; and the youngster, 183 year-old Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), a self-stylized "bad boy." The demonic-looking 8000 year-old Petyr (Ben Fransham) lives in the basement. They invite a documentary crew to film their daily lives, and especially the annual Unholy Masquerade, where Vladislav dreams of being the guest of honor. Meanwhile, one of their intended victims, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), has been turned into a new vampire. He and his human pal, Stu (Stu Rutherford), create new kinds of trouble for the veteran vamps.

One of the better laughs comes up around the concept that vampires do not cast a reflection; the friends must draw sketches of one another as they get dressed up for a night on the town to make sure they look sharp. At other times, they play games with the mirror, making objects float in front of it. These little side jokes, as well as behaviors and relationships, are often funnier and more interesting than the main plot twists -- as well as the "mockumentary" stuff -- but there are enough of them in the movie's loose structure that it never gets dull.

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