What We Do In The Shadows


2006 - What We Do In The Shadows: Interviews with some Vampires

Be afraid... be not very afraid.

Logline: Being undead doesn't mean you don't have to pay your rent. A docu-mocu-mentary-style exposé on a group of vampires who flat together in a suburb of Wellington, What we do in the Shadows is a funny, poignant and heartfelt look at those of us who don't fit into society or popular mainstream culture; outcasts, nerds, foreigners and in our case... undead creatures of the night.

Synopsis: Vulvus, Viago and Deacon are vampires who live here, among us. They are real vampires; undead, immortal creatures who stalk the night and hunt for the blood of humans, preferably virgins.

But in night to night life we see that they are much the same as us, experiencing the same difficulties that life (or eternal life) throws at us, especially when it comes to living together in a flatting situation. While we are witness to many of the horrid and abominable aspects of Vampire life, such as hunting and feeding on humans, vampire rivalry and fighting werewolves, we are also invited for the first time ever, to view the way these immortal beings deal with keeping a clean house, rostering jobs week to week, shopping, going out to a bar, meeting people and trying to fit in. The only thing that separates these characters from the rest of us is that they have fangs, drink human blood and sleep in coffins.

Taika Waititi

Sometimes known to his white friends as Taika Cohen, Taika Waititi is an Oscar nominated film-maker. He has just finished filming his first feature, "Eagle vs. Shark", an awkward love story starring Loren Horsley and fellow "Shadows" collaborator Jemaine Clement.

As a performer and comedian, Taika has been involved in some of the most innovative and successful original productions seen in New Zealand. He has a strong background in comedy writing and performing and with fellow comedian Jemaine Clement, has won New Zealand's top comedy award, the "Billy T", and also the "Spirit of the Fringe Award" in Edinburgh. He regularly does standup gigs in and around the country and has also been critically acclaimed for his dramatic abilities. In 2000 he was nominated for Best Actor at the Nokia Film Awards for his role in the Sarkies Brothers' film "Scarfies".

Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Clement has been working in the field of comedy for the last nine years. He has worked with Taika off and on for most of this time, mainly in the comedy duo, Humourbeasts. His most successful venture, folk-musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, has been nominated for the Perrier comedy award. The Conchords have been signed to write pilot scripts for both NBC and HBO and have recently recorded a half-hour special for American network HBO and a six-part radio series for BBC's Radio 2 in Britain. Jemaine is currently acting in Taika Waititi's 'Eagle vs Shark'.

Taken from Headstrong

Review by Becks - What We Do In The Shadows

I was really excited to see this film. Screened at the City Gallery on Thursday afternoon, it was preceeded by 'Sheep Man', a 'documentary' film about the final days of a sheep enthusiast who lives his last days on a sheep farm in rural New Zealand. Although he is allergic to the sheep he loves so dearly, he believes that they somewhat control the universe and his actions. One scene in which Sheep Man is sneezing uncontrollably, he suddenly stops, believing that it was the power of the sheep that held back that one last sneeze. It was a very entertaining, yet slightly odd film. Also, Flight of the Conchords were credited for doing the music for the movie.

What We Do In The Shadows was next on the schedule. It was another 'documentary' a film which explored the flatting lifestyle of three vampires. Starring Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement and Jonathan Brugh, the film gives us an insight to the vampires (Vulvis, Viago and Deacon) daily routines, flatting conflicts as well as their late night excursions into Wellington city on Saturday nights. Their 'getting ready' routine for hitting the town was great. Seeing as they don't have reflections, they must rely on eachother to make sure they look good. And although being abused by drunken youths ("homo!" "fag!"), it didn't put the vampires off their task of finding virgins on Courtney Place. Too bad there are no virgins in town to find. It was also really great to see the vampires go into bars and pubs which I usually visit on the weekend. The Big Kumara was my favourite bar visited in the movie.

My favourite part of the film was the flat-meeting. Discussing and completing chores for an eternity must be a bitch. Talk arose of dirty, bloody pots and pans left out, and the shower not being cleaned in about a hundred years. Another aspect of the film I really liked was their young vampire friend (sadly, his name escapes me). The central characters of the film are hundreds of years old, their young friend being way off their wisened age. He also 'floats' outside the flat window waiting to be invited in.

As a film altogether, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The concept was fantastic and the characters well drawn. The characters small comments about their appearances, age, flat concerns and their night in town were all hilarious and made the film what it was. What We Do In The Shadows and Sheep Man combined was a fantastic, entertaining way to spend a Thursday afternoon. Hopefully you'll all be able to see it; I really hope I do again, because once was just not enough.

REVIEW - June 2006 - What We Do In The Shadows screened at the Wellington Film Festival. Thursday July 27 and Monday July 31. The synopsis reads -

Directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, assisted by fellow comedian Jonathan Brugh, explore the flatting lifestyle of three perennial bachelors, vampires Vulvis (aged 700, maybe 701), Viago (229) and Deacon (107). Listless, dandified masters of the artful sigh, they waver between trying to spook the anonymous filmmaker with their doomy tales, and making silken plays for pity. If you thought never dying might be cool, they’re here to tell you about the hollowness at the core of their eternal round of irritating household chores, domestic squabbles and Saturday nights being mistaken for homosexuals in the Courtenay Quarter. Few will be impressed by their haughty approach to younger vampires, though many may admire their openness in addressing such longstanding questions as: how can any man who never sees himself in a mirror care so obsessively about clothes, hair, and skin tone?

REVIEW - June 2006 - What We Do in the Shadows... *** out of *****


Written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

Jemaine Clement
Taika Waititi - On IMDb - On Wikipedia - On MySpace
Jonny Brough
Cori Gonzalez-Macuer - On MySpace

What We Do in the Shadows… follows a pack of three Wellingtonian vampire flatmates, Vulvis, Deacon and Viago as they sift through the night hunting forblood…but vampire thirst aside, they still have to work out who cleans the dishes, takes out the garbage and all the wonderful mundane details that living together requires one to perform.

The film is a documentary-style voyeuristic look at what it’s like being one of the eternal undead, a satirical look at the hollowness of their lives with some domestic humour thrown into the mix that makes for a rather refreshing take on the classic mythology. Some of the funniest moments come from the three getting dressed for a night on the town; their seemingly pointless obsession for looking good lends itself to richly formed gags. The appearance of a young vampire, Nick, opens the proverbial floodgates of the old-school versus the new school debate. While the three flat mates have been undead for hundreds of years, Nick has only been a vampire for two years and has taken to dressing like them and mimicking their long-developed style. Yet he hangs around them like a groupie to a rock band. This is either a comment on the youth’s desire to be accepted by copying the ‘new cool’ or can be taken as an element to progress the story…you decide.

Waititi and Clement’s style of comedy is akin to The Office; dry, yet ridiculous and almost always delivering a chuckle. After the success of Two Cars, One Night it’s evident that Waititi possesses a keen eye for casting. This film is no exception; each character not only feels real, but wholly developed, most especially Clement and Jonny Brough, who delivers a hilarious interview regarding his age. These strengths aside I did find the film long in parts, despite its run time of 25 minutes there’s only so much you can talk about being a vampire doing mundane things before it starts to feel drawn out. There were moments that could have been trimmed and the occasional joke was overcooked, I doubt this film will be considered an amazing feat of comedy filmmaking in the years to come but it’s certainly enjoyable.

What We Do In The Shadows What We Do In The Shadows

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