What We Do in the Shad­ows

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Adele Oliveira

What We Do in the Shad­ows , not rated, com­edy/hor­ror, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 3 chiles

It’s been over two years since the last in­stall­ment of the Twi­light saga was un­leashed on the world, so movie­go­ers would be for­given for think­ing that the vam­pire craze is (at long last!) passé. But What We Do in the Shad­ows , a New Zealand-pro­duced mock­u­men­tary that clev­erly traf­fics in vam­pire clichés, rein­vig­o­rates the genre.

The setup is clas­sic sit­com with a twist: Vam­pires Vi­ago (Taika Waititi), Dea­con (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Je­maine Cle­ment) are flat­mates in Welling­ton. In their base­ment dwells the mostly mute, chicken-de­vour­ing Petyr (Ben Fran­sham), a Nos­fer­atu type who, at eight thou­sand years old, is the el­dest and crud­est of the bunch. There’s no plot, re­ally — most of the story is an ex­cuse for dude-cen­tric jokes, like piss­ing con­tests with the lo­cal were­wolf gang, which ref­er­ences Twi­light (vam­pires can’t stand the way were­wolves smell), and West Side Story -style pos­tur­ing in dark al­leys.

At about 85 min­utes, Shad­ows is nearly too long (it would have suc­ceeded as a 10-minute sketch), but it main­tains ap­peal through ab­sur­dity and sheer charm. This is a silly movie in the best sense of the word.

Shad­ows was writ­ten and di­rected by Waititi and Cle­ment, known best in this coun­try for their work on the short-lived HBO cult fa­vorite Flight

of the Con­chords , in which Cle­ment also co-starred. ( Con­chords fans will be pleased to see Rhys Darby in the role of the were­wolf al­pha male.) In Con­chords , Cle­ment plays a fic­ti­tious ver­sion of him­self, a strug­gling mu­si­cian living with his best friend/band­mate, Bret, in Brook­lyn. As Ki­wis in New York, the two are al­ways slightly out of step, their sen­si­bil­i­ties not quite trans­lat­ing to main­stream Amer­ica. In Shad­ows , the vam­pires face a sim­i­larly awk­ward so­cial ex­ile: They want to go danc­ing at clubs, but this is dif­fi­cult, be­cause they must first be in­vited in. They’re friendly and per­son­able, but many ac­quain­tances end up as sus­te­nance.

Through­out the movie, vam­pire con­ven­tions are em­ployed: blood gush­ing from a bit­ten artery; wak­ing sleep­ily at 6 p.m. from cof­fin slum­ber; an un­timely death in the sun­light; and there is even a nod to ’80s clas­sic

The Lost Boys — the trio likes to sur­prise un­wit­ting hu­man din­ner guests by turn­ing spaghetti into worms via hyp­no­sis. But un­like that film (and Twi­light , In­ter­view With the Vam­pire , and even Drac­ula ), Shad­ows re­fuses to take it­self se­ri­ously. It’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate and of­ten up­roar­i­ous: We learn that Dea­con was a Nazi; Vladislav, who grew up in me­dieval times, sug­gests ob­tain­ing slaves to clean the house; and the three even have their own band — a very bad one. Shad­ows con­tin­ues in the proud tra­di­tion of Young

Franken­stein — all spoof and blus­ter — man­ag­ing, even this far past the vam­pire-sat­u­ra­tion point, to be im­prob­a­bly hi­lar­i­ous.

Do you poop out at par­ties? Taika Waititi

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.