Have you ever found yourself wondering what life would really be like for vampires today? No? Well, What We Do In The Shadows is here to show you anyway.
A mockumentary about a group of vampires flatsharing in Wellington, NZ, What We Do In The Shadows highlights the problems that face immortal creatures crossing the threshold into the 21st century. Bouncers refuse to explicitly invite them into nightclubs, computers are too complex, and the internet remains a mystery.
The very endearing Viago introduces us to his flatmates, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr. All are centuries old, with the exception of the Nosferatu-esque Petyr, who is a colossal 8000 years of age. Gradually we learn about their pasts through a series of interview clips: how they became vampires, what time period they are from, and the struggles they faced. Amidst all this, they show us what they do presently too, including their excursions to find people to feed on, and their heated encounters with werewolves.
Unfortunately, the general peace is disturbed when Petyr turns Nick, a man who was strictly meant for food, into a vampire. Unable to keep a secret in the social age, Nick tells many people about his new identity as a vampire and accidentally alerts a vampire hunter. Consequently, Petyr dies, and the other vampires banish him from their flat. They still enjoy Stu’s company though, Nick’s human friend, who has been showing them how to use the latest technologies.
Vladislav: Leave me to do my dark bidding on the internet!
Viago: What are you bidding on?
Vladislav: I am bidding on a table.
– What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
At the Undead Masquerade Ball, the vampires meet Vladislav’s adversary, referred to as ‘The Beast’throughout the film. Here we learn that she is Vladislav’s ex-girlfriend, given the name because of their hard breakup. She learns that Stu and the camera crew are human and accuses the vampires of breaking the laws of the ball. After Vladislav ‘fights’ her new boyfriend, he and the vampires escape the ball with Stu and the camera crew in tow. They cross paths with the werewolves that they have often antagonised, who are turning (it being the night of the full moon). Stu is attacked and the vampires continue to flee, assuming he is dead. Later, they find he is a werewolf and that perhaps that is okay. The film ends with the vampires reconciled with Nick and the werewolves, with kind-hearted Stu as the medium between them all.
Though sometimes quite slapstick in nature, What We Do In The Shadows holds close to its chest positive messages of tolerance and respect, without resorting to polemics or other forms of preaching. It’s done in a refreshing style which feels original – mockumentaries are by no means new, but supernatural horror mockumentaries are, in my experience, few and far between. By all means, if this is not the case, do let me know because I’d love to see more. For a film following cold-blooded monsters, What We Do In The Shadows is a warm-hearted and fun comedy to watch.