What We Do In The Shadows (2014) Review

Taika Watiti is directing the third Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok and being that both of his previous films were critically acclaimed and really funny, I decided to watch his first really prominent film, What We Do In The Shadows. The film is a mockumentary about Vampires living in modern day Wellington, New Zealand. This is one of the smartest and funniest films of 2010s and I had a blast watching it.

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Taika Watiti, who also wrote and directed the film along with Jermaine Clement, who also stars, stars as Viago, a 379 year old vampire and the leader of the flat. His flatmates include Vladislav and Deacon (Clement and Jonathan Brugh), along with Petyr (Ben Fransham), an 8,000 year old Nosferatu character and easily one of the funniest parts of the movie. All of the actors in this film are perfect in their roles. Jonathan Brugh’s Deacon had this mentality about how he thought he was super sexier than he really was and I couldn’t stop laughing at him. Jermaine Clement is hilarious in this film. If you haven’t watched Legion yet, go watch it now because he’s absolutely stunning in it but here he plays a perverted medieval times mentality vampire and his lines in this movie made me spit out my drink at some scenes. Taika Watiti is immensely talented as he wrote, directed,  and starred in this film as did Clement and the fact that they give such great and hilarious performances along with crafting an original and brilliant idea is truly remarkable.

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Something that was really surprising about this film was the effects work. For a lower budget film, 1.9 million, it had some fantastic looking flying effects. Not just flying effects but blood effects and creature effects looked really nice, particularly on Petyr’s character. It goes to show that a low budget can still produce big results.

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The film isn’t perfect and that’s mainly to do with its third act. The film spends it’s whole time building up to this big party involving the secret society of vampires and the ending is rather anticlimactic. I see what Watiti and Clement were going for because it’s played for laughs and I did laugh, I just wish that the film’s ending had a more fulfilling conclusion. There is this really sweet moment between Deacon and another vampire character, Nick late in the film and the actual final scene  of the film is really funny and calls back to an earlier bit in the film but the finale as a while just felt slightly lacking.

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What We Do In The Shadows was an absolutely brilliant and well written horror comedy and showed me that Taika Watiti is an immensely talented individual and cemented Jermaine Clement as a comedy force. Judging this on a comedy scale, a film I recently watched and reviewed, Popstar, I found super hilarious. This film was actually even funnier than that one. The film is currently on Amazon Prime so I recommend you check it out before Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters this November!

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Grade: A-


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