[Catie Allwright | Contributing Writer]
Described as ‘the best comedy of the year’ by The Guardian, this 2014 mockumentary follows the trials and tribulations of Viago, Vladislav and Deacon in their hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. It’s the story of just three average guys living together. The catch? They’re vampires, welcomed into the undead community at various points in history. If it wasn’t enough to have to compete with daily tasks such as avoiding sunlight, coping with heartbreak, feuding with werewolves and feasting on human blood, they also have to deal with their 8,000 year old roommate Petyr and trying not eating their new human friend, Stu.
First, we meet 379 year old Viago, an eighteenth century dandy who can be a little fussy. Is it too much to ask that Deacon do the dishes more than once every five years? Can Petyr sweep away the skeletal remains littering the basement, or Vladislav put down towels before feasting on a victim on the white sofa? As it turns out, yes it is too much to ask. Vampires don’t like chores any more than students do.
Next, we are introduced to 862 year old Vladislav, played by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement. Vladislav grew up in medieval times and has a long tyrannical history, earning himself the fond title of ‘Vladislav the Poker’. According to Viago, he’s a really great guy… just a bit of a pervert.
Lastly, at a mere 183 years of age, Deacon is the ‘bad boy’ of the group, a Nazi vampire who moved to New Zealand after losing the war… perhaps not as relatable.
Dispelling the myth that vampires are ‘mopey old creatures who live in castles’, this trio just want to have a bloody good time like the rest of us. But how do you get ready for a night out when you have no reflection? And how do you plan where to meet your next victim when getting into a club depends on whether you are actually invited inside?
Being a vampire isn’t all sunshine and happiness; in fact it’s rather dark and morbid as Petyr’s latest victim, Nick, discovers. The ability to fly and transform at will are pretty cool, but the novelty wears off when you can’t sunbathe, watch daytime TV or eat chips. What kind of a life is that? As the two youngest, Nick and Deacon don’t get along, but can agree that Nick’s human friend Stu is a keeper, a software analyst who brings the vampires up to speed with Google, texting, selfies, and Skype.
What We Do in the Shadows has won various awards, including Best Narrative Feature at Hawaii International Film Festival and Audience Award at Monsters of Film 2014. They couldn’t be more well deserved; the film is wickedly funny, strangely touching and puts a fresh, humanising perspective on our dearly departed vampire community. Next time you’re trawling through Netflix for inspiration, look no further than this.
Have you seen What We Do in the Shadows – what did you think? Tweet us @TridentMediaUK.