- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: What We Do in the Shadows

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Comedy / Horror

Language: English

Runtime: 82 min

Director: Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi

Writer: Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi


A camera team follows a group of vampires who live together under the same roof in the modern society, where they struggle with the same issues as everyone else - boredom, paying rent, conflicting thoughts, and just keeping away from trouble. When an actually modern man is turned into a vampire and moves in with them, things are not quite as they used to be.

Our thoughts:
Decent vampire movies are rare, and vampire comedies that are actually funny are even more rare. I can barely come up with enough titles to make a list. I can, however, bring up "Dracula: Dead and Loving It". It might not be the best parody ever made, or even the best Mel Brooks movie ever made, but it stayed true to a horror subgenre while making light of it. I enjoyed it a great deal and it's important to note that, because "What We Do in the Shadows" hits the right parodic notes as "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" did in the '90s. Although, while "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" was a parody of a specific movie, "What We Do in the Shadows" makes us laugh with the subgenre tropes as a whole.

The movie is about a group of vampires from different eras in time (from several thousands of years to more recent) who are living together in the modern day. They live in a large mansion, trying to get through the days without much hassle. Their lives are quite mundane, not different from yours or mine. They tend to their hobbies, try to get into nightclubs (it's hard being a vampire when they won't invite you in), have conflicts with their room mates, mess with the local werewolf gangs whenever they meet out on the streets. It's not the typical vampire lifestyle. But they do get help to acquire blood without being noticed by a woman who believes she will one day be given eternal life by joining them. Of course, that's just a lie to keep getting her help. One day Petyr, the oldest vampire (who looks like Nosferatu), bites a man and the room mates have to learn to live with an actually modern man in the house.

The movie is done as a mockumentary, with the explanation that the camera crew are wearing crucifixes (or was it garlic?) so they leave them alone. This is one of those rare new movies that actually uses the mockumentary style to its advantage. The movie is setup around a couple of characters and you simply follow them, and that's enough to entertain us with help from the mockumentary style. When done right, the style doesn't require the traditional storytelling, and this is certainly done right.

Did I mention that the movie is actually funny? It's made by the people behind the rock band comedy show "Flight of the Conchords", so you might know what kind of comedy to expect. It's light-hearted, intentionally dry and quite hilarious at times. The comedy is sure to bring a smile to those who grew up on classic vampire movies like the original "Dracula" or the many by Hammer, as it clearly knows its roots and how to make vampirism funny. There are also a few meeting with other famous monsters, such as the zombies and the werewolves (which are surprisingly well made!).

This is a movie that I can recommend to most people with a sense of humor and a love for horror. It doesn't mock the vampire subgenre, but actually shows it a lot of affection while still managing to be funny from start to finish. If you want to take a break from where the vampire genre has gone recently, this is a great throwback while still turning it on its head.

Positive things:
- Funny!
- Shows a lot of love to the classics.
- The characters are great and diverse.

Negative things:
- I can't think of anything bad.

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3.5/5
Comedy: 4.5/5

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