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So many comedies are adoringly billed as “dark”, forgetting the ancient showbusiness maxim, “dark is easy; funny is hard”. Fortunately, this mockumentary from New Zealand succeeds in being both: in fact, it’s the best comedy of the year.
What We Do in the Shadows is directed by its stars Jemaine “Flight of the Conchords” Clement and Taika Waititi, who in 2005 was Oscar-nominated for his short film Two Cars, One Night.
A group of vampires share a house in Wellington, squabbling about the washing up and facing off with a rival gang of werewolves, à la Twilight. The rigour with which their hideous and crepuscular world is imagined, combined with the continuous flow of top-quality gags, makes this a treat from first to last. After a while, I was embarrassed at myself for giggling so much.
Our heroes are undead gentlemen from central Europe who have escaped problems and heartache in the old country to live in New Zealand. They bite a faintly annoying guy, who duly turns into a vampire and wants to hang out with them, and he brings along his best mate, a really nice non-vampire human bloke called Stu: all the vampires get a bromance crush, holding back from biting him and he is the Bella Swan of this story.
But this film reminded me of something else: it is the comedy version of Abel Ferrara’s 1995 The Addiction. I can’t say fairer than that.— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Fri & Sat March 6 & 7, 2015, 7:30 only, Muenzinger Auditorium
New Zealand, 2014, English, Color, 86 min, DP, 1.85:1, NR • official site