“What We Do in the Shadows” was a breath of fresh air compared to everything else we watched this week. The ability to combine comedy and horror is a skill that is hard to accomplish, but there are some movies that I enjoy that can do this successfully. “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is a great example, even the Netflix original “Little Evil” wasn’t that bad. When it comes to “What We Do in the Shadows” I think it’s more of a comedy with horror elements than a blend of both. Nonetheless, this is a good Halloween vibes movie and I highly recommend it.
The Plot (Semi-Spoilers)
This movie is in the style of a mockumentary that follows four vampires: Vladislave, Viago, Deacon, and Petyr. We see, mostly the first three, dealing with modern life and being roommates. I would say that the overarching plot would be the “Unholy Masquerade,” which is an annual party for the vampires, witches and zombies. In the leading months to this party, we see how these vampires deal with every day things. I know that this sounds lowkey boring, but it really isn’t. There’s no good way to describe this movie because it really is just some vampires living their lives. They do play around with popular vampire tropes like being invited in, not having reflections, and the sun meaning a fiery death. They also use other things like hypnosis and morphing into other animals. The best way to describe this movie would be to compare the comedy to “Napoleon Dynamite” and even “The Office.” It’s more about their awkward tendencies than outright jokes.
I know this plot section isn’t that long, but I don’t have any problems with the plot in this film. I thought that it was a very original way to present vampires. It was cool to see them interact with other monsters like witches, zombies, and werewolves. They also were able to use popular vampire tropes and other vampire stories to create how they would interact with different day-to-day obstacles.
The Scares/The Comedy
This movie isn’t scary. There are horror themes within the movie but nothing “scary” happens. There’s a scene where the vampires are feasting on humans, one where a vampire catches on fire and burns to a crisp, and one with werewolves attacking humans. Blood is heavily involved, but in a way that just helps the comedic flow of the movie. It is a somewhat gruesome movie, but nothing crazy. On a scale from 1 to the “Saw” franchise, I’d give it a solid 3 ½.
There are plenty of points in this movie where I actually laughed out loud. The scenes where they are chasing Nick around was amazing. It was very clever how they worked in the comedic element in this movie. Highlighting how awkward these vampires are just made things work. If there were more outright “ha ha that’s a joke” moments, I think it would have completely destroyed the authenticity they were trying to create with this movie.
I think they hit the nail on the head with the acting in “What We Do in the Shadows.” I find it very interesting how they shaped this movie to be a mockumentary rather than just a movie. Making it a mockumentary, they were able to capture this believability factor similar to “The Office.” We all know that “The Office” wasn’t really following an actual work environment, but they were able to capture the intimate moments that made the show a hit. “What We Do in the Shadows” was able to corner in on this as well. It did feel like we were following real vampires in New Zealand trying to get into clubs and work around the fact that they don’t have a reflection. They were able to hone in on how awkward they are and make it just a knock out film.
- The Plot: 7/10
- The Scares/The Comedy: 8/10
- The Acting: 8/10
I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about this movie. I know the premise doesn’t seem like the most enticing thing, but I highly recommend this movie. It was very goofy film and it shaped vampires in a different way while keeping true to most of the lore. If you would rather laugh than jump, this is the perfect horror film to watch.