Taika Waititi

What We Do in the Shadows

Vampires have to be so cool nowadays. They must be sexy and sparkling and shirtless, or preppy young girls at a hip school for blood-drinking. And I, for one, am tired of it. I don’t need vampires to reflect the trends of my modern, youthful generation — if I wanted any of that, I’d actually leave the house and spend time with my modern, youthful generation. What we need more of are the old, decrepit vampires; the ones who spend most of their time in coffins and can’t perform a single action without giving off an unpleasant musk of sexual tension. And that’s exactly what What We Do in the Shadows provides — weird, old, sexually ambiguous vampires. Also funny ones, but that’s beside the point. It’s a mockumentary horror comedy, written, directed and starring Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (the guy behind Eagle vs. Shark), and it promises all the laughs that one normally associates with draining human bodies of blood for sustenance. Seriously, though — the trailer offers up twelve different quotes of “hilarious,” all from different film-y publications. At that point, I’m willing to venture that it might actually be hilarious.

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what we do in the shadows trio

It’s remarkable that vampire mythology can still be mined for great comedy. Just when you think the Seltzer and Friedberg team closed the book on lampooning the creatures of the night and the overabundant amount of movies about them (with a terrible chapter), another duo prove there’s still actually hilarious potential in this subgenre. Jemaine Clement makes his directorial debut alongside occasional collaborator Taiki Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark; Flight of the Conchords) with the mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows, in which they didn’t necessarily find a ton of fresh jokes and gags in the material but still managed to execute each bit to perfection. Even Twilight provides fodder for new laughs here, not so much as parody of the franchise but of an amusing idea around it. The humor there stems from something bigger than vampires to make fun of general trendiness, treating the Edward Cullen character as a kind of hipster asshole in the context of the history of iconic vampires. He’s represented by a newly turned bigmouth (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) who obnoxiously clings to a foursome of flat mates, one of whom resembles Nosferatu (Ben Fransham), another with a Coppola-style Dracula/Vlad the Impaler thing going on (Clement), a dandyish Anne Rice type (Waititi) and, rounding out the group, a less definable vampire (Jonathan Brugh) who used to be the “young blood” of the group. He has history as an undead Nazi and now takes pleasure in ordering around his human servant (Jackie van Beek) and pranking people with […]

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If the enigmatic and energetic opening of Taika Waititi’s latest comedy Boy says anything to its audience, it is that we’re in for some imaginative fun.

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