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What We Do in the Shadows

New Zealand 2014
produced by
Emanuel Michael, Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley, Jemaine Clement (executive) for Unison Films, Defender Films, New Zealand Film Commission
directed by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Jason Hoyte, Karen O'Leary, Mike Minogue, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Ian Harcourt, Ethel Robinson, Brad Harding, Isaac Heron, Yvette Parsons, Madeleine Sami, Aaron Jackson, Morgana Hills, Morag Hills, Frank Habicht, Denis Welch, Mario Gaoa, Kura Forrester, Luke Bonjers, Rhys Darby, Simon Vincent, Cohen Holloway, Duncan Sarkies, Nathan Meister, Tanemahuta Gray, Belle Gwilliam, Aaron Lewis, Emma Draper, Jennifer Martin, Anna Flaherty, Melanie Hamilton, Lucy Marinkovich
written by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, music by Plan 9, special makeup effects & prosthetics by Don Brooker, werewolf effects by Steven Boyle, visual effects by Stan Alley

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A documentary crew follows the lives of a quartet of vampires - Viago (Taika Waititi) the dandy, Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) the hothead, Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), the wannabe Dracula, and Petyr (Ben Fransham), the ancient, Nosferatu-like bloodsucker - sharing a flat in Wellington, NZ, from discussing who's going to do the dishes to their problems getting into real cool clubs on a Saturday night ... after all, vampires have to be invited in before they can enter a building, and in today's culture of bouncers that's rather unlikely. The "documentary" also depicts their interaction with other vampires, their constant problems to get their hands (fangs) on fresh blood, their on-going pseudo-war with the local werewolves, and the like. Things heat up when they invite Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into their midst to suck him dry, but Petyr rather accidently turns him ... and Nick is not all that bright and not all that likeable, but sooo happy that he's a vampire that he tells everyone and threatens to blow the vampires' secret. But Nick has a human friend, Stu (Stuart Rutherford), an IT expert, and he's a really cool and likeable guy and teaches the vampires how to use the internet and smart phones and the like,and the vampires really love him and promise not to harm him (and keep their promise). Eventually though, Nick lures a vampire hunter (Brad Harding) to the vampires' flat who manages to kill Petyr, even if he pays with his own life. The vampires have no choice to banish Nick from their circle of friends, and unfortunately that means losing Stu as well. Things come to a head though at the annual vampires' ball, where Nick brings Stu as the only human guest - and some of the vampires in attendance get a little bit hungry ...

 

What We Do in the Shadows is a really fun mockumentary that manages to blend vampire myths and mainstays with typical reality TV show routines without resorting to just turning the whole thing into a cheap joke, instead relying on strong characters (and performers), subtle humour, and a series of rather trivial situations that are made funny and interesting simply by the different perspective of the vampire. And add to that a directorial effort that finds just the right balance between horror and the mundane of reality TV.

Total fun, really!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD