WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014) Reviews and overview

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What We Do in the Shadows is a 2014 New Zealand horror comedy feature film directed and written by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, who also star in the film. The remainder of the cast are: Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Jackie Van Beek, Ben Fransham.

What We Do in the Shadows was based on a 2006 short film of the same name by Waititi and Clement. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.

Co-writer, co-director, co-star Jemaine Clement told Stuff that there are plans for a sequel that will focus on Rhys Darby’s character Anton who was the leader of a pack of werewolves.


Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) – three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood.

Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts…


“takes pleasure in poking fun at various aspects of vampire lore, but not surprisingly (given the filmmakers), What We Do in the Shadows is more deadpan, clever, and silly than it is simple, “schticky,” or mean-spirited. And while Shadows is most assuredly a full-fledged comedy in horror clothing, fans of the darker genre will certainly enjoy how colorfully gory the movie gets during some of the best visual gags.” Scott Weinberg, FEARnet

“The film’s greatest achievement is keeping everything a serious vampire fan expects while updating the narrative to modern times without being awkward. The movie is not perfect. At times, the vampires act very immature considering their average age is well over 400 years old. A few of the set-pieces are plain stupid. However, these are minor squabbles.” Eric Karell, Attack from Planet B


“Some genre fans who prefer the silly to the satiric may bite, but the anemic pic isn’t remotely weird or witty enough for cult immortality. Feeling eternal at 87 minutes, the film introduces a rival gang of G-rated werewolves (“We’re werewolves, not swearwolves!”) and drags its way to the Unholy Masquerade Ball, populated by hard-partying vampires as well as zombies — the movie’s final act of desperation.” Rob Nelson, Variety

” …both hilarious and genuinely frightening. The Real World-style friction between several undead housemates, including an 8,000-year-old Nosferatu-like bloodsucker, is sharply satirical and yet strangely poignant; you end up feeling for these creatures of the night, even when they have to rip some poor soul’s throat out to survive.” Sam Adams, Rolling Stone


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“It’s also as silly as it is smart, unloading plenty of easy gross-out gags involving gushing blood and projectile vomiting plus some token childish moments — a character audibly masturbating from inside his coffin, for example — and some the movie gets away with by having its characters act immaturely in spite of their ages ranging in the hundreds to thousands of years … There’s always a smart bit within seconds of something stupid.” Christopher Campbell, Film School Rejects

“If there is any justice, What We Do in the Shadows, will break out into the light of day as a crossover hit. This film is absolutely hysterical, came as a complete surprise to me, and even breathes life back into the withering corpse of the doc-comedy style of The Office.” Ed Travis, Cinapse


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“Although the vampire flatmates are all archetypes first and foremost, they each (except Petyr, whose lack of personality is the whole point) have distinctive individual quirks that enrich and complicate those stock templates […] they all give this “exposé” something more meaningful to expose than the mere details of the vampire lifestyle, however amusing and well thought-out those details might be.” Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

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