Author: James Ackland
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: DTS 5.1
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Kiwi humour in film has come a long way. While comedies from the U.S. And UK have a long and strong track record NZ humour has been like a best kept secret (much like the country itself). Goodbye Pork Pie (1981) and Came a Hot Friday (1985) came to define the decade. The 1990s and 2000s were not the strongest period with Braindead (1992) being the best of the bunch.
But it seems NZ is cashing in on the dialectal boom in the post Flight of the Conchords world. Audiences around the globe are extremely receptive to our latest offerings. And these are often from a few tight circles in the New Zealand comedy scene. Most notably director/actor Taika Waititi (Boy 2010) and the Flight of the Conchords duo of Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie.
With What we do in the shadows we see Waititi and Clement re-team and co-direct after the brilliant Eagle Vs. Shark (2007).
What we do in the shadows is a mockumentary in classic kiwi style. Awkward confident statements and pregnant pauses abound, but enough about me....
Four flatmates are unliving the good life in Wellington. They're Vampires, but that doesn't stop the dishes from piling up and conflicts about bloodstained couches to cause the usual and unusual flat meeting.
Viago, Deacon and Vladislav feed during the night luring victims from some of wellingtons more questionable nightspots while coffin loving, Nosfuratu type Petyr is more of a terrifying like vampire hunting the night while not saying a word.
After a failed attempt to feed and kill Nick, a young Wellington urbanite, he is mistakenly turned into a vampire and the task to train and assimilate him into the family unfolds.
Like most adolescent vampires he's pushing the limits and like most younger flatmates he's a bit clueless and arrogant with his new found lifestyle and the rules that are necessary to survive. Nicks best friend Stu is brought into the fold as their human helper and while the desire to kill him is always present he's respected in this lost in time group.
Each character is wonderfully fleshed out with great back stories and for each of them their past is import to the story and their journey. Clements Vladislav is a scene stealer with full Transylvanian accent and mannerisms.
Jonathan Brugh plays 183 year old Deacon. A vampire who's self image is hilariously portrayed by his over confidence and vintage attire. Deacon has a human helper named Jackie played wonderfully by Jackie Van Beek who in the Renfield type role is impatiently waiting to be turned. In Waitits Viago, the vampire romanticism is bought to the story as he pines for his last true love, now an elderly woman at a nursing home. As "host" of the documentary his commentary really ties the whole film together.
In Wellington Vampires and Werewolves coexist in the way that Marmite and Vegemite coexist. You can have both on the shelf, but you wouldn't mix the two. That's a bit volatile isn't it.
Rhys Darby plays the leader of the Werewolf pack and much like his signature character Murray from Condords he's a details man. This works really well in the Vampire vs. werewolf conflict. Also included in the wolf pack is the hilarious as always Cohen Holloway.
Clement and Waititi know what they want to present here and they've nailed the humour like a stake through the heart! It's natural and playful as any good mockumentary should be.
AUDIO: A great mix, nothing to worry about with your home set up.
VIDEO: Great HD, and as the film deals with many night shots its a lovely transfer.
EXTRAS: Trailer. Pretty skinny on this edition, if you just want the movie get it now! If you crave even more, the special edition is coming soon in march.
JAMES BITE: This film was shot in my hometown and they even visit those questionable bars that i used to frequent. The big Kumara bar used to be called Barneys and i must have gotten about 27 hickeys there. I only asked for about 3 of them, the rest just came naturally. Must be my pheromones.