What We Do In The Shad­ows

Bite Of The Con­chords

SFX - - Penny dreadful -

Does this vam­pire mock- doc com­edy from Je­maine Cle­ment have bite?

Re­lease Date: 21 Novem­ber

15 | 85 min­utes Direc­tors: Taika Waititi, Je­maine Cle­ment Cast: Taika Waititi, Je­maine Cle­ment, Jonathan Brugh, Ben Fran­sham

Breath­ing new, un­dead life into the clas­sic mock­u­men­tary, What We Do In The Shad­ows at­tacks the mod­ern vam­pire flick from the Spinal Tap an­gle. And about time too.

Blend­ing clas­sic vam­pire lore with mod­ern- day mun­dan­ity, it cen­tres on a dusty, blood- stained man­sion oc­cu­pied by four very dif­fer­ent vam­pires. Co- writ­ers Taika Waititi and Je­maine Cle­ment ( of Flight Of The Con­chords fame) star along­side Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fran­sham, all play­ing ec­cen­tric im­mor­tals desperately try­ing to nav­i­gate the world as we know it – de­spite the fact that their ages range be­tween 170 and 6,000. Al­ways a night­mare when de­cid­ing what to wear to the lo­cal night­club – es­pe­cially when they’re re­quired to be in­vited in first.

The se­cret to the film’s suc­cess lies in the pitch- per­fect comedic per­for­mances; the tow­er­ing im­pro­vi­sa­tion skills of ev­ery cast mem­ber mean the jokes are dark, blood­ied and end­lessly flow­ing. From quib­bling over whose lin­eage is the most fear­some to be­ing in­tro­duced to the in­ter­net by their only mor­tal friend Stu ( who they all agree is a bloody good guy), Waititi, Cle­ment and crew wring de­li­ciously twisted hu­mour from ev­ery scene – not to men­tion cre­at­ing some gen­uinely won­der­ful vi­su­als. A deep af­fec­tion for the genre is ev­i­dent through­out, with shades of Nos­fer­atu, The Shin­ing, Ham­mer’s Drac­ula and Fright Night.

Rhys Darby ( Cle­ment’s Flight Of The Con­chords co- star) puts in an ef­fort­lessly charm­ing per­for­mance as the head of the sur­pris­ingly well- spo­ken lo­cal were­wolf gang (“Re­mem­ber, we’re were­wolves, not swear­wolves”), giv­ing our toothy pro­tag­o­nists a pack of furry neme­ses to bat­tle against.

As with any mock­u­men­tary, the plot takes a back seat to the comic set­pieces, but thanks to en­er­getic per­for­mances, bril­liant ob­ser­va­tions and the pure black silli­ness of it all, a lit­tle nar­ra­tive me­an­der­ing is easy to for­give.

Tak­ing a sharp fang to the bloated, sparkly mon­ster that is the mod­ern vam­pire genre, What We Do In The Shad­ows glee­fully tears through the make- up to re­veal the pu­trid in­nards within. Hor­ror fans and com­edy lovers re­joice – proper vam­pires are back. Natasha Hodg­son

What We Do In The Shad­ows be­gan its life as a short film Waititi and Cle­ment made over a week­end back in 2005.

So just who should be in charge of the clean­ing rota?

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